– Saktima Das, Head of NIOS
National Institute of Open Schooling also known as NIOS is a board for students who want to pursue their education in private mode. Essentially it can be deemed as completion of secondary and senior secondary education through correspondence. The idea of this style of approach towards education may not seem fit to many who might question its credibility, however the NIOS is a government authorized board under the Ministry of Human Resource and development, government of India.
Therefore, NIOS Board is a perfectly relevant and credible option for students.
It is valid for any further education in all over India and is recognized for all kinds of government jobs too.
NIOS gives students the freedom to pick subjects and programs of their preference, while also letting them learn at a pace comfortable to them. Another important factor is that NIOS Board presents students with the option to transfer credits from CBSE, other national/state Board of School Education as well as State Open Schools.
Below are courses offered by the NIOS Board:
(a)Open Basic Education (OBE) Programme, that encapsulates the following
OBE ‘A’ Level Course -Equivalent to class III
OBE ‘B’ Level Course -Equivalent to class V
OBE ‘C’ Level Course -Equivalent to class VIII
(b) Academic Courses
Secondary Course-Equivalent to class X
Senior Secondary Course-Equivalent to class XII
(c) Vocational Education Courses
(d) Life Enrichment Programmes
Now let’s try to understand – Whom does NIOS pose as the best option for?
NIOS is the best option for those candidates who could not complete their schooling owing to certain unavoidable reasons like inaccessibility to schools providing higher education, inadequate finances; those who could not cope up with regular studies due to various learning concerns or others who want to focus on sports or performing arts.
While NIOS is picking up strong as an education career option, most people still do not understand the difference between NIOS & regular schooling. Some most indicative differences amid open schooling and regular schooling are:
Regular schooling is based on learning through a student-teacher interaction following a specific time-table. On the other hand, open schooling is a flexible system of education that provides self-learning opportunities to a learner according to his/her own schedule.
Regular schooling is greatly based on instruction and education services that do not focus primarily on special education, vocational/technical education whereas the open learning system is very helpful to those who want to continue their study while pursuing another passion like music, sports or any other form of arts.
People also often mistake open schooling for distance education. For clarity, open learning is a broader term used for any scheme of education or training that removes barriers to learning whether they are concerned with age, time or place. On the other hand, distance learning is considered a specific form of open learning where educators and learners are separated by geographical distance. This is sometimes called a home study or correspondence course and does not involve physical interaction between the teacher and student.
Open schooling has several advantages. Some of the most important and fundamental features/benefits of this style of learning are as follows:
Flexibility: The first and biggest factor that holds a differential advantage for NIOS is that an individual can choose the subjects of their choice from the list. Registration of the course for the students through numerous ways like online, through a study centre, through the regional centre for secondary education, etc. NIOS provides its students some exceptional facilities that a regular school cannot. These facilities are:
Flexibility of selecting a program or course irrespective of their age
Flexibility of not attending classes
Flexibility of giving exams when the student is ready
Flexibility of time frame which allows you to complete a 1 year program even in 4-5 years.
2. Freedom to Learn: NIOS goes by the motto – “Reach out and reach all.” As we stated above that there is no restriction on when to take the exam; an individual can decide when to take the test based on their preparations. NIOS believes in offering its students the freedom of learning.
3. Examination Attempts: While the public examinations are held twice in a year, students registered at NIOS can appear for nine examinations over a period of five years. Further, they are granted the option of appearing for the examination at any time during these five years and can avail the facility of credit accumulation too.
4. Application & Significance: Most people assume that the courses pursued at NIOS will not pave the way for higher studies. However, it will come as a surprise that alumni of NIOS are placed in the prestigious institutions such as IITs, Delhi University, Punjab University, Allahabad University, Aligarh Muslim University and others.
5. Transfer of Credits: Students can transfer up to two subjects passed from national/international/state boards/state open schools that have tied up with NIOS.
6. Quality Education: There are many misconceptions about the quality of education in NIOS. The government has conferred on NIOS the authority to conduct exams with absolute transparency and award certificates equivalent to those provided by the state board or others.
7. Special Facilities for the differently abled: NIOS holds power of the mind over physical impairments and hence offers conveniences like an additional hour to visually impaired or differently abled persons, relaxations for candidates suffering from sudden illness/accident, etc. The relaxations are available in theory examination only, and not in practical tests.
Many parents and students are unaware of the value and credence of NIOS. But it must be well-recognized and understood that because NIOS is recognized by the government of India, it makes the certification through this board valid throughout India for registering to any competitive exam that students take following their 12th. Students that pass out of NIOS can seek admission in all India as well as state Medical, Engineering and other such competitive exams including AIEEE, PMT (NEET), IIT-JEE. They can also enter other academic courses in all universities and technical institutes across the country and abroad.
It would be befitting to set the seal on the notion that NIOS certainly is advantageous to students who wish for an education different from the conventional way of learning. It may not conform to the traditional method of education; however, the Board ensures being at par with other significant Boards, creating skilled & proficient individuals equipped to face the world of business.
Also read: NIOS snapshot profile