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NIOS Focuses on Vocational Education

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National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has three million students in India and abroad. Prof Chandra Bhushan Sharma, Chairman, NIOS in an exclusive interview with Seema Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN) talks about the success ratio of the education programmes at the elementary level

Please share the vision of NIOS to provide online study material for all students and flexible examination system to reach out to students of all age groups?


Prof Chandra Bhushan Sharma,

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is the largest institution, in terms of enrolment. Started as a wing of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in 1979, NIOS became an independent organisation in 1989. The NIOS has served more learners in the school sector than any other institution. Today, it has approximately three million students on its roll in India and abroad. NIOS has developed its own Learning Management System (LMS) for providing quality school education online.

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LMS has been named as VOS (Virtual Open Schooling). Through the VOS, learners can pursue school–based courses online leading to certification. Learners can study the study material using asynchronous or synchronous mode facilitating interaction with peers and teachers. Currently, NIOS is offering five vocational courses under the VOS, ICT applications and four independent six months modules of rural technology. VOS offers online admissions, online content related to the subjects, online live chat-rooms, discussion forum, blog, online classes through video conferencing, online assignment and assessment, etc. to learners through LMS. After the successful completion of the course, learners appear in on-demand examination (term end) for certification.

NIOS offers number of vocational, life enrichment and community oriented courses besides general and academic courses at secondary and senior secondary level. What is the success ratio of the students passing out from NIOS?

NIOS offers a number of vocational, life enrichment and community oriented courses besides academic courses leading to secondary and senior secondary certificate. During the academic session 2014- 15, 28,734 learners had registered for our vocational courses across India. Female learners exceeded the males, both in registration and pass percentage. Nearly 73 per cent female learners and 64 per cent male learners have successfully completed their courses. Negotiations with agencies in India and abroad are going on to augment vocational education especially of girls between 14-18 years age group.

Please throw light on your Open Basic Education Programme for elementary level courses?

NIOS has launched the Open Basic Education (OBE) programme in 1994 as an alternative educational programme equivalent to elementary education of the formal education system. It is an equivalency programme and provides three tier education under OBE i.e. A level (equivalent to class 3), B level (equivalent to class 5) and C level (equivalent to class 8). In the year 2000, the programme was also operationalised for children between 6 to 14 years age group with the help of accredited agencies (AAs).

The RTE Act, 2009 has made it compulsory for all children between the age of 6 to 14 years to join the formal schooling system. However, NIOS was advised to continue the OBE programme till 31st March 2013 and then again till March 2015.

The country still has significant number of out of school children, which is estimated to be 60.41 lakhs (2.97 per cent). Therefore, considering the proposal of NIOS, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has decided to continue the OBE programme for children between the age group 6-14 years till March 2017 with the objective to mainstream children.

How do you ensure that children learn basic language and numeracy skills?

NIOS offers courses at the secondary and senior secondary levels to its learners. Learners who have attained the minimum age of 14 years can register for the secondary course and 15 years for the senior secondary course. It is presumed that by this age, these learners will have already established their numeracy and language skills through their interaction at school and society at large. The learners who register for the Open Basic Education (OBE) programme have to complete six years of age at the time of registration or are adults who have already acquired functional literacy skills. There are accredited agencies authorized by NIOS to conduct classes for these learners to ensure that adequate language and numeracy skills are developed in them.

What is the student assessment system maintained by NIOS?

The Assessment of learners in NIOS is done through public examination as well as ‘On Demand Examination’. Transfer of Credits (TOC) is allowed in two subjects for the drop out learners from other recognized boards/councils. The teaching and learning activity is conducted through 30 Personal Contact Programmes (PCP) in theory and 05 PCP in practical components at the accredited institutes, study center allotted to the learners during the first year of the registration. The internal assessment is conducted at the study center through tutor marked assignments (TMA) during the course of PCP and 20 per cent of the weight-age is allotted for TMA.

Assessment in practical components is judged through external examination conducted at the relevant study centre and theory examination is done through public examination conducted twice a year or through on demand examination conducted round the year. The learner gets an opportunity to appear in nine public examinations and as many as on demand examinations during the validity of registration i.e. within five years. Fair evaluation is ensured by allotting random code to each learner appearing in the assessment. The marks of assessment conducted are recorded on an OMR award sheet in duplicate. The result of the assessment is declared within 30 days from the last date of the examination and the same is made available on NIOS website.

The Assessment of learners in NIOS is done through public examination as well as ‘On Demand Examination’. Transfer of Credits (TOC) is allowed in two subjects for the drop out learners from other recognised boards/councils

There is also a facility of accumulation of result and transfer the same into the next examination result till the learner is eligible for certification.

NIOS has also entered into many collaborative projects with NGOs and private organisations for the development of vocational courses. Kindly throw light on them? What are the subjects you are focusing through vocational streams?

NIOS has partnered with a number of professional bodies like:-

Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC): The major objective of collaboration with ITDC is to provide the learners knowledge and exposure of the hotel industry. The courses are diploma in food production and management, diploma in food beverage operations, diploma in housekeeping and maintenance, diploma in front office operations, diploma in bakery and confectionary. These courses are of one year duration.

Indian Medical Association (IMA)- The IMA has helped us in designing diploma in medical imaging technology and diploma in medical laboratory technology. The duration of these two courses is 2 years.

Construction Industry Development Council– The CIDC assisted in designing construction related courses. The course on Construction Supervision (Civil) is offered through the network of CIDC. The duration of this course is 6 months.

CISCO – The online course “IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software” developed by CISCO is being offered by NIOS. The duration of the course is 6 months and entry qualification is 10th pass.

National Informatics Center (NIC)– NIC and NIOS have taken up jointly the development of two courses viz certificate in web designing and diploma in web designing and development with specific emphasis on guidelines for Indian Government Website (GIGW).

The NIOS has plans to provide all our study material as MOOC and also provide the facility to appear for examination whenever, wherever. If our proposal is accepted, we would like to start a new stream of +2 Vocational. Learners desirous of obtaining a +2 certificate in vocational stream should be allowed to obtain it without being forced to study tradition ‘Content’ leased subjects.

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