Preparing future of India

Prof Chandra Bhushan Sharma,
Chairman, NIOS

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is making its learners ready not only for the Indian market but for the global market as well while offering programmes keeping in mind the global requirements. Prof Chandra Bhushan Sharma, Chairman, NIOS tells Vishwas Dass of Elets News Network (ENN) about NIOS’ initiatives and courses

Please throw some light on the education initiatives undertaken by NIOS and the priorities for the betterment of quality of education.

NIOS has been offering courses for nearly 25 years from now. We have also been offering a large number of vocational and skill development courses. Somehow, skill development courses have not been very popular. Primarily, we have banked upon the printed text. We have two things in mind at the moment. One is to shift from the print based to the online courses. Hopefully, by the end of this year, all of our courses would be made online for the secondary and senior secondary students.

The students can study online and assess themselves online. When they have completed all the components of a course and are convinced enough that they are ready for certification, they can fill the form and write their exams. As far as skilling is concerned, we are trying to skill up and update our programmes, developed five years back, as per the demand of the society. We have 160 million youth who have to be skilled to serve the world. Perhaps, we would not be able to employ all of them in India, they have to find opportunities abroad also.

We are trying to update our programmes keeping in mind the global requirements. We would be offering +2 vocational courses. Presently, in India, we have +2 Arts, Science and Commerce streams. NIOS would be the first board of India to offer +2 vocational courses and if students do not want to continue with higher education, they can have a certificate which will qualify them to work as qualified technical workforce. We want to prepare our learners for the global market. Currently, NIOS is not considered at par with the traditional boards but we are trying to bring it at par with the board exams and give it a global certification.

When we are talking about technology we do find that the teachers lack in training. Are there any provisions to train your teachers?

We have a parallel system, we do not have our own teachers. We pick up teachers from traditional institutions and re-train them for our jobs because our learners are not completely depended on the teachers. They are independent learners and want only to be helped where they are having any problems. We do not do complete teacher training but a part of it. We also utilise people who are not exactly in full time jobs. In our country, there are hundreds of well educated women, who are housewives, who do not want full time jobs. So, we pick up such workforce. We bring them to help our learners. We have tailor-made our vocational programmes for mothers so that would qualify them to become 12th pass. Instead of forcing them to study particular subjects like history, geography or economics, we give them courses in managing their own house.

What is the pass percentage of students?

Around 75 per cent of students who appear, qualify their exams. The distance mode is a very tender method of education because we are not in regular touch with learners so they come as motivated learners. We follow the national curriculum framework so we don’t follow any particular board as such. In fact, we had done study where our questions were found to be more difficult than the traditional boards like CBSE, ICSE, etc. The traditional boards’ learners are age learners but our students are normally more experienced. When we compared with CBSE question papers, ours’ appeared to be more difficult.

How WES platform benefi ts NIOS and what are the takeaways that you are looking forward?

We never advertised ourselves. Although we must do it because now that has become a norm for educational institutes. If learners do not know about our programmes, courses and methods, how would they come to us. I believe this platform would take us to more learners. WES was indeed a very good opportunity for us to promote NIOS among the youth.

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