AWES : A HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
After independence, education in residential public school was out of reach for most of the officers and JCO's/OR. 1962 to 1973 saw a massive expansion of the Indian Army. Once the colour service of Jawans was increased, more and more families moved into military stations. Existing education facilities could not meet the aspirations of all ranks. Even the Central Schools (KVs) did not fully meet our requirement. This is when the Indian Army took upon itself an additional charter for education of wards of Army personnel. It is, however, in the late seventies that the Indian Army debated and evolved a vision for the education of the wards of Army personnel that resulted in creation of AWES.
15 Jan 1980 is a red letter day in the history of the Indian Army, when the then COAS announced the involvement of the Army to promote education for the wards of our personnel. By this time, 28 Regimental Schools and four High Schools had already come up. Army Welfare Education Organisation (AWEO) was created, thereby making a modest beginning to bring these Schools under this organisation within overall control of AG’s Branch. AWEO was registered as AWES under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 on 29 Apr 1983 as a purely non profit welfare organisation.
The management of AWES vests with Army Headquarters, with COAS as the Patron in Chief, GOC-in-C of Commands as Patron and an Executive Committee with the Adjutant General as Chairman. Broad policy guidelines of the Army Headquarters are disseminated to the Schools by AWES and the academic affiliation provided with CBSE. The syllabus and its progress is monitored to ensure equal progress in all Schools. CBSE guidelines are also disseminated.
The Schools are administered by the Local Station Commanders through the School Administration and Management Committee (SAMC). All aspects of administration are looked after by the SAMC.
The process of expanding the wings commenced with a mandate that we would add at least 5 Army Public Schools every year (one per Command). From a population of 20,000 children in 1987, our schools have now grown to 135 Army Public Schools and 249 Army Pre Primary Schools spread across the country with a population of more than two lac children. Nearly 5000 children are added to our schools every year.
1994 was yet another milestone that the Army is proud of, when Late Gen BC Joshi, the then COAS, took a bold and far reaching decision to set up our first Professional College – Army Institute of Technology (AIT), Pune. This indeed was the seed that was to inspire us in years to come. Thereafter AWES added almost one College every year with 12 Colleges at present, AWES has thus filled a major void by providing avenues to our wards to join professional Colleges for higher education by competing within the system. ACMS at Delhi Cantt opened in the year 2008 which is amongst the best in the country. This mega project having ultra modern facilities will go a long way in meeting the aspiration of the environment. Eight colleges have so far been constructed on our own land.
The Vision of AWES - ‘Quality Education at Affordable Cost’. To ensure a holistic development of the child AWES has launched a series of initiatives. These are :-
Computer Aided Learning.
English Bridge course for the first generation learners.
Managing the challenges of Adolescence.
Herbal Gardens in every school for awareness of medicinal plants.
Faculty Enrichment Programmes.
Games, sports, hobby centres and activity clubs.
Life saving skills.
Adventure Camps with wide ranging challenging activities.
ESTABLISHMENT OF FDRC
There are over 7000 teachers on pay rolls of 135 Army Public Schools and over 3000 teachers of 249 Army Pre Primary Schools spread across the country. Nearly 1000 teachers turnover each year. All teachers are employed based on the CBSE guidelines and selected through a Combined Selection Board. Capacity of school depends upon capacity of its teachers. Empowerment of teachers on an ongoing basis is therefore essential to equip them with requisite tools, techniques and methods to enable them to make teaching learning process – a life long experience for the child.
With above vision AWES established its FDRC in Mar 09. FDRC is richer by not only having conducted over 72 workshops, attended by more than 3600 teachers but also by sharing their experiences. The workshops are continuing. Teachers not only from Army Public Schools but from Sainik Schools, Rashtriya Military Schools and other CBSE affiliated schools in NCR and friendly foreign countries like Nepal are benefiting after attending workshops at FDRC. The FDRC has also benefited by the expertise and suggestions given by various dignitaries who visit on an regular basis. FDRC has been recognised by CBSE for conducting workshop on their behalf.
Our vision is to make FDRC a 'Centre of Excellence' for empowerment of teachers.
Army Pre Primary Schools (APPS)
A need was felt after independence to give education to the ward of All Ranks as the Army cantonments were located at isolated stations, places and far flung areas. Till 2005 these schools were being run as regimental schools. However in 2005 the Army Pre School Education Council (APEC) under AWWA was set up to design a sound Early Child Care & Education (ECCE) programme for the pre schoolers (above 3 years) to ensure holistic development of the child and prepare the child for formal schooling . In consonance with the guidelines stipulated by the APEC, all the pre schools run by the Army establishments were grouped under one control/ apex body wef 01 Apr 2011 for academic content . These Pre Primary schools were designated as Army Pre Primary School (APPS).
APPS are also administered under Station arrangement through the respective SAMC
Today the Army Pre Primary School are a veritable hub of activity functioning in vibrant environment. Happiness is writ large on the faces of pre schoolers as they cheerfully indulge in activity based ambience and picturesque surroundings. Army Pre Primary School curriculum is designed to cater to their comfort zone and development needs.
Our journey from vintage barracks to State of Art infrastructure which began in 2002-03 has started fructifying. With the persistent efforts of Adjutant General and Quarter Master General 59 schools have been sanctioned in AMWP. Out of this 37 schools have been completed and the schools are already functioning from these buildings, two schools are nearing completion and balance are in various stages of progress. State of the art buildings have also been made through AG’s Welfare Fund for Medical, Dental, Law, Hotel Management MBA Colleges, and Nursing College. Planning action has already begun for a Management College at Rajarhat.
The endeavor of AWES has been to provide the very best to the wards of Army personnel. It is this commitment that makes ‘AWES’ march ahead to be second to none and in keeping with the standards and tradition of the Army.
ARMY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
From 28 Regimental Schools and four high Schools in 80's, Army has come a long way to 134 Army Public Schools as of now. Even in late eightees (1987), our student strength was just 20,000 as against 1.73 lakh as of date. Nearly 5000 students are added in our schools each year and 40,000 students shift from one Army Public School to another.
All Army Public Schools run by the Army are affiliated with CBSE through AWES. Medium of instruction is English. The Schools are administered by the local station commanders through the SAMC's.
Salient Features of Army Public Schools
These are as under:-
No ward of Army personnel is denied admission in any Army Public School.
81% of children belong to JCOs/OR's category who mostly hail from rural background.
Uniform and coordinated All India syllabi and curricula to ensure that children during mid session transfer do not suffer on account of variance in coverage of syllabi.
Vary in strength from large category schools (strength over 2500 children) to small category schools - (strength upto 500) with a heterogeneous mix of children.
Good availability of IT infrastructure. All schools have IT Laboratories and most of schools have implemented Computer Aided Learning (CAL).
Sound administration and logistic support from local Army Formations/units.
Environment of discipline, secularism, human values and security is conducive towards good education is inbuilt.
Greater emphasis on developing good communication skill in English since majority of our children hail from non-English speaking background.
Growth of Army Public Schools
Addition of Higher Classes
Class X. APS Chennai, AS Dehu Road & AS Dighi has added class X. Total No of Class X Army Public Schools now are 122.
Class XII. Army Public School Golconda have added Class XII. There are 91 Class XII Army Public Schools.
Re-Designation of Schools
All Army Schools are re-designated as Army Public School on 01 Jul 2011.