By Dr. T. N. Giri
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), formerly known as the National Open School (NOS) was set up in 1979 as a pioneering project titled “Open School” under the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi. The Open School was amalgamated into National Open School (NOS) which was set up in November, 1989. The National Open School (NOS) was rechristened as the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) by the Government of India in July 2002 in order to extend its scope and functioning.
To provide ‘sustainable inclusive learning with universal and flexible access to quality school education and skill development.
Providing relevant, continuing and holistic education to pre-degree level through Open and Distance Learning System.
Contributing to the Universalization of School Education.
Catering to the educational needs of the prioritized target groups for equity and social justice.
It is an institute with a difference-it is an open school which encourages flexibility and freedom to learn. About nineteen lakh learners are on roll of NIOS pursuing their secondary, senior secondary and vocational educational courses.
NIOS is one of the three National Boards and the only board imparting school education through Open and Distance Education. It has been vested with the authority to enroll, examine and certify learners up to pre-degree level. The Open Schooling courses of study of NIOS have the same standard and equivalence as the courses of study of other National/State level boards of school education. Learners have joined colleges and professional institutions after completing their studies from NIOS.
NIOS offers its courses of study through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode of education popularly known as Open Schooling. NIOS develops its own curriculum, self learning material and media support programmes utilizing expertise of faculty from various academic and vocational education institutions/organizations.
In the interest of learners, NIOS has introduced ‘On-line’ admission throughout the year (24×7) to facilitate their registration. Under this scheme, learners have the options to (a) register themselves On-line directly; (b) visit their nearest AI (study centre)/Facilitation Centre and take their help for On-line registration or (c) may visit their NIOS Regional Centre for On-line registration.
NIOS offers 27 subjects (including 17 languages) at the secondary stage in eight mediums (Hindi, English, Urdu, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu, Malayalam and Oriya) and in 23 subjects (including six languages) at the Senior Secondary stage in three mediums (Hindi, English and Urdu).
A cafeteria approach in the choice of subject is offered. No subject is compulsory except one language. Once can choose subjects according to his/her interest, need and vision of career path. Provision has also been made for the learners to opt for one vocational subject along with academic subjects. Learners have freedom to choose their subjects, pace and place of learning.
NIOS has more direct link with its learners. The study material is now sent directly to each learner free of cost. He/She can now communicate directly with NIOS via the Learner Support Centre (LSC) for providing prompt and direct support. The study material developed by NIOS is in self-learning mode. The print material coupled with face-to-face Personal Contact Programme (PCP) at the Study Centres and Media Support Programmes (Audio-Video cassettes, Broadcast and Telecast of Programmes ) empower the learners of NIOS. A learner can also avail the facility of the Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA) which helps in developing regular study habits and checking the progress of learning.
The NIOS has also launched Website channel ‘Mukt Vidhya Vani’, webcasting daily live personal contact programmes for the benefit and exposure of the learners of NIOS. The facility is available at study centres (AIs/AVIs) as well as at all Regional Centres of NIOS.
NIOS conducts two public examinations in one academic year i.e. in April-May and in October-November. There is a facility of accumulation of credits. A significant innovation introduced by NIOS in its examination system. It is the On Demand Examination System (ODES) which gives an opportunity to the learner to appear in examination in a subject as and when he/she feels ready for it.