As already mentioned earlier, there are a lot of military academies and schools in India. Among the most famous ones are:-
National Defence Academy (NDA)
Indian Military Academy (IMA)
Officer’s Training Academy (OTA)
Naval Academy (NAVAC)
Air force Academy (AFA)
Ajmer Military School
Bangalore Military School
Belgaum Military School
Chail Military School
Dholpur Military School
Sainik Schools in all states of the country
While the first five on the list are higher seats of learning, (college level) the bottom half of the list comprises of names of the schools that provide excellent military training and education.
The need to establish such schools came when the world entered into war in 1914 (First World War). The British took advantage of its colony India to provide them with troops who would win wars for them. Hence in 1925, the first military school was founded under the name of King George at Jallandhar (Punjab) and another one at Jhelum (now Pakistan). These colleges were established as a welfare measure to provide free educational & physical training to the son's of JCO's and other ranks of armed personnel. The specialized and rigorous training provided by these schools at a very tender age becomes a very essential part and is in fact compulsory along with primary education, for it helps these young men to adept to adverse situations. It helps in strengthening their mental setup along with making their bodies resistant and tough.
King’s George’s school was relocated to Chail after Independence. Soon thereafter four other military schools were founded at Ajmer, Belgaum, Bangalore, and Dholpur (Rajasthan).
It is imperative to note that even these schools aren’t devoid of reservation. In Military Schools, 67% vacancies are reserved for the wards of the JCOs/Other Ranks called "entitled category". Out of 33% non-entitled category seats, 20% are reserved for the wards of service officers and 13% for the wards of civilians.15% and 7.5% of the seats in each of these categories are reserved for SC and ST candidates. 10 seats in each Rashtriya Military School are reserved for wards of personnel killed in action.
These Military Schools focus on imparting quality education to enable the boys to score well in the CBSE exams. It is important to note here that students are admitted at a very young age (11/12 years ) .This enables them to undergo good training, so by the time they have reached 18 years of age, the students are either enrolled in their father's regiment or good enough to join the NDA.
Presently these schools are public schools directly under the control of Ministry of Defence, India. The local administration is under the respective station commander. The schools are located in cantonments.
The concept of Sainik Schools started in 1961 to remove regional imbalance in the officer's cadre of Defence Forces and also to broaden base recruitment.
These Schools are affiliated to Central Board of Secondary Education and follow 10+2 pattern in science stream only. The medium of instructions is English. Such schools go an extra mile to give due attention to both extra-curricular activities and sports for optimum physical fitness of their cadets.
Sainik Schools came into being from the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) which has given to India many brave service men. Sainik schools can be called as the ordinary citizen's public school where deserving pupils can get good quality education irrespective of their income or class background.
Seats are reserved for children of serving Defence personnel and concessions are given to children of Government officials. Such schools provide efficient military training and rigorous hours of practice to prepare the students to lead as officers in the Defence Services of the country. Today there are over 24 such schools covering almost all the states of the country.
The schools come under the purview of respective state governments and Ministry of Defense. For their betterment, these schools were allocated Rs. 2 crore each, to counter rising attrition in the defence forces, in the Union Budget 2008 by the finance minister, P.Chidambaram.
The schools select exceptionally bright and well performing students and have huge infrastructure to hone the skills of their students. Games include boxing, shooting, canoeing, horse riding, mountaineering, trekking & hiking, obstacles course, football, cricket and basketball along with some indoor games like chess.
They train their students from the age of 10 to 18 years academically for the All India Secondary School Examination and All India Senior School Certificate Examination, New Delhi and also for Entrance Examination to the National Defence Academy. These schools try and provide a healthy and sound general educational environment without religious inhibitions and prejudices. They try and instill in them passionate feelings about their motherland. They foster the growth of mind, body and character which enable them to become good and useful citizens of India and help them make leaders in any walk of life.
Standard of Medical Fitness
For admission in these schools it is absolutely impossible if one is suffering from any kind of disease. A very detailed medical checkup is done to ensure the efficiency of the candidate.
It can be mentioned here that when it comes to fees, these schools make sure that the wards of defence personnel get huge benefits and hence their fee structure is much less expensive as compared to other students. In fact sons of officers killed in action are entitled to scholarships also. As of now more than 8000 officers of the Defence Forces are alumni of Sainik Schools.
The RIMC too is another specialized school which educates young men (starting class 8 onwards) and prepares them to be fighters for a nation, for a cause.
Other Military Academies in India
The NDA and the IMA are two most important ways of building a strong foundation for a career in the Indian military services. These academies mould the young minds into men, who lead by example. The academic part of the three-year course (similar to graduation) at NDA includes all subjects same as that of a University Degree (B.Sc., B.A., B.Sc. Comp Sc.) the only difference being elaborate training in fundamental military sciences. In the first two years, all cadets are trained on the tri-services and in the final year, the cadet is further trained in his specialized field. IMA follows the same pattern with the only difference being that the course lasts two years (students join after graduation).
In today’s world when marks and fight for the top positions is maddening, one can see and feel the innocence of these schools. They, I believe are the true places where education is imparted without selfish interests, or profit making schemes. Their standard may not be the same as that of a private institute yet the people who pass out of such institutions are morally better, and in today’s materialistic world, such qualities, rare to be found, hold much value. These schools help the individual to think beyond the obvious, to feel and live life to the fullest. Yes it can easily and truly be said that while other schools prepare boys to face examinations, these school prepare them to face life like a man.