Migration is a common phenomenon. We know
there are birds and animals that migrate for various reasons. So is the case of
human beings. Shift from one place to another in a general way is treated as
migration. In case of JNV (Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya) migration scheme was
introduced to foster the national integration under the umbrella of three
language formula. This paper deals with the factor that may affect the process
of migration inside the school viz. culture, food habits, method and medium of
instruction and most important language. Suggestions for the school authorities
are being discussed in order to minimise the negative effects of these factors
on the migrants.

Key words: migration, JNV, culture, food habit, medium of


According to Oxford Dictionary boarding
school/residential school is “a school which provides
accommodation and meals for the pupils during term time”. In other words, it is
a school where some or all pupils study and live during the school year with
their fellow students and possibly teachers or administrators. Jawahar
Navodaya Vidyalayas are also a kind of residential school in India. The
National Policy on Education-1986 envisaged the setting up of residential
schools, to be called Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas that would bring out best of
rural talent. This scheme is managed by Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti, which is a
registered society under Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860. This society
is fully financed by the Government of India through an autonomous organization
under the department of Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development.  As a part of the programme of action of the
new education policy in 1986 the Government of India launched the scheme to set
up Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas in all the districts of the country in order to
provide opportunities to the children with special talents to proceed at a
faster pace by making quality education available to them irrespective of their
capacity to pay for it. (Shubhra, 2003)

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Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya

Navodaya Vidyalaya System is a unique experiment unparalleled in the annals of
school education in India and elsewhere. Its significance lies in the selection
of talented rural children as the target group and the attempt to provide them
with quality education comparable to the best in a residential school system.
Such children are found in all sections of society, and in all areas including
the most backward. But, so far, good quality education has been available only
to well-to-do sections of society, and the poor have been left out.
It was felt that children with special talent or aptitude should be provided
opportunities to proceed at a faster pace, by making good quality education
available to them, irrespective of their capacity to pay for it. These talented
children otherwise would have been deprived of quality modern education
traditionally available only in the urban areas. Such education would enable
students from rural areas to compete with their urban counterparts on an equal
footing. The National Policy on Education-1986 envisaged the setting up of
residential schools, to be called Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas that would bring
out the best of rural talent.

The Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas are working
on following objectives:

Ø  To provide good
quality education including a strong component of India’s cultural heritage,
inculcation of values, awareness of environment, adventure activities and
physical education to talented children belonging predominantly to rural areas,
without regard to their family socio-economic condition.

Ø  To ensure that all
students of JNV attain a reasonable level of competence in three language as
envisaged in three language formula, and

Ø  To serve, in each
district, as a focal point for improvement in the quality of school education
in general, through sharing of experience and facilities.

Scheme of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya

fulfil the objectives of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya and fostering national
integration, scheme of migration has been introduced in the school for
students. It is a scheme of exchange students from one Vidyalaya in a
particular linguistic region to another in a different linguistic region to
promote understanding of the diversity and plurality of Indian’s cultural and
its people. The main aim of migration in JNV’s is focused on national
integration. According to the scheme, selected 30% of the 9th class
students are exchanged between JNV’s of non-Hindi speaking region for one year.

The definition of a migrant is a person
living outside their own country for a year or more, for that matter,
migration, “consists of individual who, under the influence of great number of
factors, move from one place to another at a certain time”. (Oderth, 2002)
Therefore, a person(s) who moves from one place to another is referred to as a

Migration is a process of social change where
an individual, alone or accompanied by others, because of one or more reasons
of economic betterment, political upheaval, education or other purposes, leaves
one geographical area for prolonged stay or permanent settlement in another
geographical area. Any such process involves not only leaving social networks
behind (which may or may not be well established) but also includes
experiencing at first a sense of loss, dislocation, alienation and isolation,
which will lead to processes of acculturation.  (Bhugra, 2004).

There can be any number of reasons for
migration among human beings.  These can
be broadly categorized into economic, political, marital, religious,
educational and the traditional. For education and particularly higher
education people move to various seats of learning.  In the past when the seats of higher learning
were very, few people used to move great distances.  In the ancient period in India Nalanda and
Takshila were such centres. 

In the case of JNVs
migration, it was introduced to foster national integration and to minimize the
cultural gap. In this scheme the students migrate from one linguistic region to
another linguistic region under three language formula. When students migrate
from their JNV to another JNV, they meet new culture, food habits, environment
and language. In the new environment students may learn a lot of new things, take
up to new challenges and enjoy themselves making new friends, learning
different language, getting involved in new social community but at the same
time they  might face many problems
related to social, emotional and academic area. The challenges to adapt into this new
environment, faced by these migrated students can be categorised in terms of
culture, language, food habits, medium, method of instruction and environmental
changes.  These challenges  are difficult to face,  especially when you do not have enough time
to adapt with the new environment and people as in case with migration in
Navodaya schools which is only for one year, and being a teenager doesn’t make
it easier.

As a culturally and spatially transitional
stage, the immigration process introduces possibilities for change, as well as
resistance to new habits, new behaviours, and new cultural experiences. These
changes, in turn affect our physical and mental health, our perceptions of
self, and our relations with others (Koc and Welsh, 2002).

We shall now move to the different
challenges, a migrated student faces in a short period of stay, to meet the
objective of this whole migration policy that is inter- regional migration.


One feature that is most often noticed about
India is its diversity. This overworked cliché has become a part of India’s
self-identity. India is a country of sub continental proportions. From north to
south, east to west, people from diverse backgrounds have mixed and cultures
have intermingled over centuries (NCERT, 2003).   Culture refers to the patterns of thought
and behaviour of people. It includes values, beliefs, rules of conduct, and
patterns of social, political and economic organisation. These are passed on
from one generation to the next by formal as well as informal processes.
Culture consists of the ways in which we think and act as members of a society.
Thus, all the achievements of group life are collectively called culture. In
popular parlance, the material aspects of culture, such as scientific and
technological achievements are seen as distinct from culture which is left with
the non-material, higher achievements of group life (art, music, literature,
philosophy, religion and science). In sociology, however, culture is that which
is created by women and men be it material or non-material. Culture is the
product of such an organisation and expresses itself through language and art,
philosophy and religion. It also expresses itself through social habits,
customs, economic organisations and political institutions. Culture is a
comprehensive term and it includes the following:

Patterns and modes of behaviour.

 2. Techniques and technologies for production,
social organisation, institutions for the promotion of the arts and the
sciences, education, health and other services.

 3. Basic postures, values, beliefs, worldviews
that are represented in art, music, literature, philosophy and religion.

Culture has two types: (i) material, and (ii)
non-material. The first includes technologies, instruments, material goods,
consumer goods, household design and architecture, modes of production, trade,
commerce, welfare and other social activities. The latter includes norms,
values, beliefs, myths, legends, literature, ritual, art forms and other
intellectual-literary activities. The material and non-material aspects of any
culture are usually interdependent on each other. Sometimes, however, material
culture may change quickly but the non-material may take longer time to change
(Lammervo, 2005).

Culture has been defined in different ways by
different disciplines. The anthropologist Geertz (1973, p. 89) defines culture
as a “historically transmitted pattern of meaning embodied in symbols, a system
of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men
communicate, perpetuate and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward
life”. In contrast, Hofstede’s (1997) definition represents the psychologists’
point of view: every person carries within him or herself patterns of thinking,
feeling, and potential acting which were learned throughout (her or his)
lifetime. Many of these patterns are acquired in early childhood, because at
that time a person is most susceptible to learning and assimilating. The
cognitive, social and contextual approaches are brought together by Ting-Toomey
(1999), who defines culture as “a learned meaning system that consists of patterns
of traditions, beliefs, values, norms, and symbols that are passed on from one
generation to the next and are shared to varying degrees by interacting members
of a community”.  

If the surface of the culture we observe
looks similar to our own, we may mistakenly conclude that the people also think
like us. Cultural differences, however, go deeper to values and beliefs, norms
and traditions. According to Andersen et al. (2003), cultural differences are
not random events; they occur because cultures develop with different
geographies, climates, economies, religions, and histories, each exerting a
unique influence.

Cultural background plays a very important
role in child rearing and has a large impact on the way a child develops
(Millam, 1996). Culture comprises the way of behaving; the way we do things and
the mean by which we do things. Culture is in us and all around us, just as is
the air we breathe (Banks 2010).

In the migration scheme students migrate from
one region to another, where they meet new materialistic and non- materialistic
culture. Materialistic culture is almost same in every JNV, but migrants face
challenge in coping with the non- materialistic culture i.e. norms, values,
beliefs, myths, legends, literature, ritual, art forms and other intellectual-literary
activities. Coping with non- materialistic culture is not an easy task as these
things are relatively permanent in nature and take long time to change and
period of migration is only one year.  This
difference in culture makes the process of social adjustment challenging for
the migrants.


Language is the means through which we are
socialized into our culture. Through language, the cultural heritage of the
past is received, reshaped, and bequeathed to the following generations
(Skutnabb-Kangas, 1981; Sung, 1985). Language therefore is a vehicle of
symbolic value, including for the transfer of ideology as well as main medium
of expression and interaction. Language is source of cultural diversity as well
as unity. It contributes to collective identities and even to conflicts.
Language has a particularly significant role to play in the process of
individual and societal integration. It constitutes both the medium of everyday
communication and a resource, in particular in the context of education.
Furthermore, languages and accents can act as symbols of belonging or
foreignness and give rise to differentiation and discrimination.  Like cultural diversity in general,
linguistic diversity can lead to innovative stimulation and inter-cultural
exchange, on the one hand, but can also give rise to problems of understanding
and coordination, on the other, for example in the context of work situations
or social contacts (AKI, 2006).

A good knowledge of the national language is
central to educational success.  School
performance is both directly and indirectly associated with linguistic
competence and this means that proficiency in the national language and
language of instruction is crucial. This applies irrespective of the effects of
other factors on the educational opportunities of immigrant children, such as
enrolment in pre-school education, the choice of school, family circumstances
and direct or indirect discrimination within the educational system. The
conditions that have a positive influence on school performance in language-
related subjects are generally the same as those that promote second language
acquisition, i.e. a low age at migration and a higher level of education of the
parents. At the same time, the school achievement of children and young people
is particularly badly affected if learning takes place in schools and
classrooms with a high proportion of students who do not speak the national
language. Additional competence in the language of origin has no discernible
influence on school achievement (Hartmut Esser, 2006).

India is a multilingual country. Eighteen
languages are recognised by Indian Constitution. All major languages have
regional and dialectical variations, for example, Hindi has Awadhi, Brij,
Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Bundeli, Pahari, Malwi and several other dialects. The
situation is further complicated since 179 languages and 544 dialects are
recognised in India. These languages and dialects are divided into three
linguistic families — Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Mundari. Indo-Aryan family of
languages includes Sanskrit and other North Indian languages such as Hindi,
Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, etc. and their dialects.   The major regional languages are used in their
own provinces and recognised as other “national” languages through their
incorporation into the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. Hindi is the
official language of the country (NCERT, 2003). 

Thus linguistic skills seem to be very
important in accounting for migrants’ well-being. Recent studies show that it
is easier for a foreigner to acquire a language if her native language is
linguistically closer to the language to be learned (Chiswick and Miller, 2005;
Isphording and Otten, 2011). This suggests that the ability to learn and speak other
language quickly might be an important factor in the potential migrants’
decision making.

JNVs follow three language formula, as other
schools are following in India. This three language formula has link with the
migration scheme of these schools. As in this scheme, migration is done with
the region of which regional language is taught as third language in JNVs till
9th standard i.e. in JNV, Manpur, Morena third language is Oriya and
therefore migration place is Orissa. When migrants come through this migration
scheme in the other JNV School, they find language as a barrier thus face
problem in communication with the host group. Usually English language is used
as communicative language by the migrants as well as by the host group.
Communicating in English language is not an easy task for both the groups, as
at the 9th standard both the group try to come out from the shadow
of regional language thus not sound in English language. This makes the
communication a bit difficult for both the groups, thus proper communication is
not always possible. This makes the situation as challenging as adapting with
the new culture and food habit. This language barrier considerably hinders the
adjustment process of migrants in the new environment, where migrants feel uncomfortable
in having a proper communication with their classmates, hostel warden as well
as with teachers. Thus language problem presents challenges in front of


To survive we need to eat. Yet, food is more
than a source of energy and nutrients essential for human health and well-
being. What we eat, how we eat, and when we eat reflect the complexity of wide
cultural arrangements around food and food ways, the unique organization of
food systems, and existing social policies. Food plays a key role in human
socialization, in developing an awareness of body and self, language
acquisition, and personality development.

Food habits have been defined in several ways
by a number of authors. Burgess and Dean’s Correspondence early definition, described
food habits as the ways in which individuals or groups select, consume and use
the available supplies of food within the total pattern of a culture. Food
habits are deeply embedded in the personalities of individuals and are stable
and long-lasting, but they are subject to change. Such change may be induced by
factors including changes in the physical or social environment. Food habits
are determined by the interplay of a number of factors, including climate,
economy, beliefs, education and advertisements, among others. In the final
analysis, what people choose to eat determines their nutritional well-being,
which subsequently affects their general health status. There is a close
relationship between people’s lifestyles and what they eat; hence, changes in
lifestyle can bring about changes in food habits. This migration results in a
change in environment and lifestyle, affecting food habits as the migrant gives
in to the pressures of the new environment (Obisaw et al. 2000). 

India being a big country has different
geographical conditions in its states. There are hilly, coastal, plane areas
where different types of eating habits are followed depending upon the widely
available eatables in that specific area. Rice and fish are most common food items
in Bengal and other coastal areas while in the northern part of the country
these are not even included in the daily diet of major part of the population. Hence
uniformity in food habit is not found in all regions of India. As in migration
scheme students come from different regions of India, have different food
habits than host region. Adjusting with this difference in food habit for the
migrants is considerably difficult process.

nutrition value is always kept in mind while programming the meal schedule in
the JNVs, but difference in food habit of migrants makes the migration scheme a
bit challenging. Going
back to the case of migrated students (from Orissa) in my school (JNV Manpur,
Morena), most of them were non-vegetarian and faced difficulties in coping with
different food habit. Because of this migrants usually show less interest in
having meal, which in turn affects the health of migrants.


The medium of instruction is the
language used by the teacher to teach. Simply put, it is a means of conveying
information to students. Such a medium could be the official language in the
country or it could be the native mother tongue of the students. Mkwizu (2003) defines “medium of
instruction” as the language that is used in the process of teaching and
learning. Furthermore, it is a language which enables students to apply the
knowledge and skills they have acquired and to think critically and creatively.

Problem associated with the medium of
instruction is uprooted from the problem of language. Uniformity in medium of
instruction starts from 9th standard at which migration is done in
every JNV. Before 9th standard regional language is used as medium
of instruction in every JNV, so at this standard students are in phase of
transition where they have to adapt to the new medium of instruction by leaving
the shadow of regional language. At this level teachers use both English and
regional language as medium of instruction to make the learning process easy
for the students because students are not habitual of being taught through
English language. This makes the process of learning challenging for the
migrants because they are also not habitual of understanding full content
through English language and they are not comfortable in understanding the
things through other regional language. As a result of this for migrants
teaching learning process becomes uninteresting and one way. They also hesitate
in putting question as they are very new to the class and also found language
as barrier in communicating the problems related to academics.

Every teacher has her/ his own method
of imparting the knowledge. When migrants come in a new environment, they find
it difficult to adapt to the unfamiliar methods or techniques use by the
teacher in the class. To adapt to the unfamiliar method of instruction,
migrants may take several months. This difference makes the learning process
less interactive hence creates uninteresting situation in the class for the
migrants. This collectively hinder the academic performance, hence a challenge
for the migrants to adjust academically. 


habits, culture, language and method and medium of instruction are found to be
important factor that could affect the migrants during the period of migration.
To facilitate the migrants during the migrations year, the school authorities
as well as the concerned persons are required to take this fact into their
consideration. Teachers should provide the comfortable zone to migrants in
order to let them discuss about their ways of learning or in which language and
methods of teaching, they are most comfortable in. mess committees are required
to list out the food habits of the migrants and may incorporate the desired
food in the menu. School authorities should also encourage the celebration of
the local festivals of migrant in the school premises for better cultural
integrity.  In nutshell, it could be
concluded that to make the most of migration process, authorities are required
to make it easy for the migrants by keeping the above said factors into their


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