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AWES : A Historical Overview

It was only when the Indian Army was born in its present form at the dawn of Indian independence that family life really took roots in India’s cantonments. Solders – Officers, Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and men alike were dependent on the existing educational system in the country for education of their wards. As more and more families moved into our cantonments, the existing private schools slowly became unaffordable to soldiers. Even the Central Schools (Kendriya Vidyalaya) did not provide guaranteed admission to the children of soldiers who were frequently transferred from one station to another.

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The problem became more acute with the massive expansion of Indian Army from 1962-1973. A few regimental schools mushroomed all over India to cater to the growing aspirations of all ranks. However these schools did not offer the quality that our Officers, JCOs and other ranks were aspiring for.

Realising the importance of children’s education as a major welfare activity, the COAS took a considered decision to establish a chain of schools in various regional commands. This was announced on Army Day – 15 Jan 1980 by the COAS. Thus was born the school system of the Indian Army. By the time, 28 Regimental and 4 High schools had already come up and an umbrella organization was required to co-ordinate the functioning of these schools. To meet the requirement, Army Welfare Education Originisation (AWEO) was created under Adjutant General’s Branch. This organization was registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 on 29 Apr 1983 as Army Welfare Education Society (AWES) being a statutory requirement for affiliation to CBSE. The Apex Body of AWES is the Board of Governors (BOG) with the Chief of Army Staff as the Patron-in-Chief and Army Commanders as Patrons. The day to day work, in pursuance of BOG directions, was to be carried out by an Executive Committee headed by the Adjutant General(AG) and a retired Officer appointed as full time secretary of AWES. This secretariat which started functioning under AG’s Branch as CW-9 later metamorphosed into the present day HQ AWES under a retired officer of Major General rank.

The schools, initially named as Army High schools, were later christened as Army Schools. All schools were redesignated as Army Public Schools on 01 Jul 2011. There are 137 Army Public Schools across cantonments and military stations in India, all following NCERT curriculum and affiliated to CBSE, New Delhi. The schools are administered by local formation commanders through School Administration and Management Committees (SAMC). From a modest 20000 students population in 1987, APSs have grown to a mammoth systems with a students strength of approximately 2.3 lac and 8500 teaching staff. On an average 5000 students are added every year.


With persistent efforts and whole hearted support from the Adjutant General and Quartermaster General, our journey from vintage barracks to modern buildings began in 2002-03. Children schools authorized under the scales of accommodation by Govt of India are being constructed under Annual Major Works Programme (AMWP) to run these children schools now designated as Army Public Schools. The Colleges however are being created out of Adjutant General’s Welfare Fund.

Army Pre Primary Schools (APPS)

While the school and College education systems were taking rapid strides, pre school education was quietly evolving in the background under the aegis of the local formations. In 2005, the Army Pre school Educations Council (APEC) was set up under Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) to design a sound Early Child Care & Education (ECCE) programme for keeping with the APEC guidelines all these schools were redesignated as Army Pre Primary Schools (APPS). These schools, controlled by the local formations are provided curriculum support, teacher training and books by AWES.


The Schools are as good as the teachers. To ensure high quality of education in schools, empowerment of teachers assumes paramount importance. Education being a very dynamic field, teachers need to be equipped with tools, techniques and methods to enable them to make teaching-learning process a joyful experience for the children. It was to meet this requirement that Faculty Development and Research Centre (FDRC) was set up in March 2009. FDRC now conducts workshops for teachers of not only APSs and Army Pre Primary Schools but also of Sainik Schools, Rashtriya Military Schools and schools run by Assam Rifles schools, NSG , Navy and Air Force. Govt of Nepal, Andaman & Nicobar Administration and some private schools have also been sending their teachers to FDRC. In addition to a highly competent integral faculty, FDRC also invites experts of education to instruct the teachers, FDRC has emerged as a `Centre of Excellence’ in teacher empowerment.