The National Institute of Open Schooling was an instant choice. The sheer scale of operations — NIOS gave 5 lakh out-of-school students the chance to get an education in 2011-12 — ensured its selection as a winner in the government category. If NIOS was about scale, Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya No.2 of Zeenat Mahal won admiration for the determination with which its turnaround was achieved. Facing shutdown at one point, this Urdu-medium school became one of the top performing government schools in Delhi.
There was unanimity among the jury that NIOS and the Sarvodaya school deserved a joint award — if one was a shining example of macro intervention, the other showed what can be achieved with micro-level efforts.