For the first time in 50 years, the Sainik school in Chhingchhip, Mizoram made history, by changing their admission procedure and opening their doors to girl cadets.

In India, there are currently 28 Sainik schools run under the Sainik School Society under the defence ministry, and one in Lucknow that runs under the state administration.

The former Defence Minister of India, VK Krishna Menon, set up Sainik schools with the aim of reducing the regional and class gaps among officers in the Indian military.

Even though the Lucknow school admitted 17 girls earlier this year, it was the Sainik School Chhingchhip, which was selected as a pilot school to include girls into Sainik Schools.

In August 2017, the administration of the Chhingchhip school received a letter informing them of same, and asking them to reserve “10% of the total class strength for girls”.

Lt Colonel Inderjeet Singh, the former principal of the Mizoram school, told Indian Express, “for us, 10 per cent of the total class strength meant six girls. Since we were a new school, we had only two batches: Class 6 (with 60 students) and Class 7 (100 students). Imagine six girls among 154 boys!” 

Within just three weeks of the school putting out advertisements and making announcements, the school received applications from 31 girls. In January, the girls sat for an entrance exam along with other boys who also applied. After writing exams that tested them on subjects like mathematics, general knowledge and language, 21 candidates were selected.

The school took extra measures to increase security. “The first thing we did was beef up security for the building designated to be the girls’ hostel. “We had two sets of wired fencing. We then readied the indoors… set up a game room. The point was to make the girls feel at home,” said Colonel Singh to Indian Express. The school also plans to install CCTV cameras around the girl’s hostel.

The Chhingchhip Sainik school made history with this administrative move, hopefully, inspiring other Sainik schools to also make a criteria to include girls.