What is NIOS?
NIOS is an "Open School" to cater to the needs of a
heterogeneous group of learners up to pre-degree level. It was
started as a project with in-built flexibilities by the Central
Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in 1979. In 1986, the National
Policy on Education suggested strengthening of Open School System
for extending open learning facilities in a phased manner at
secondary level all over the country as an independent system with
its own curriculum and examination leading to certification.
Consequently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD),
Government of India set up the National Open School (NOS) in
November 1989. The pilot project of CBSE on Open School was
amalgamated with NOS. Through a Resolution (No. F.5-24/90 Sch.3
dated 14 September 1990 published in the Gazette of India on 20
October 1990), the National Open School (NOS) was vested with the
authority to register, examine and certify students registered with
it up to pre-degree level courses. In July 2002, the Ministry of
Human Resource Development amended the nomenclature of the
organisation from the National Open School (NOS) to the National
Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) with a mission to provide
relevant continuing education at school stage, up to pre-degree
level through Open Learning system to prioritized client groups as
an alternative to formal system, in pursuance of the normative
national policy documents and in response to the need assessments
of the people, and through it to make its share of
- To universalisation of education,
- To greater equity and justice in society, and
- To the evolution of a learning society.
What does NIOS do?
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) provides
opportunities to interested learners by making available the
following Courses/Programmes of Study through open and distance
learning (ODL) mode.
- Open Basic Education (OBE) Programme for 14+ years age group,
adolescents and adults at A, B and C levels that are equivalent to
classes III, V and VIII of the formal school system.
- Secondary Education Course
- Senior Secondary Education Course
- Vocational Education Courses/Programmes
- Life Enrichment Programmes
The OBE programme
Envisages schooling by providing a learning continuum based on
graded curriculum ensuring quality of education for children,
neo-literates, school drop-outs/left-outs and NFE completers.
For implementation of OBE programme, the NIOS has partnership
with about 341 Agencies providing facilities at their study
centres. It is a sort of academic input relationship with
partnering agencies. The NIOS provides resource support (such as
adaptation of NIOS model curricula, study materials, joint
certification, orientation of Resource Persons and popularisation
of OBE) to the voluntary agencies and Zila Saksharta Samities
(ZSSs) etc., for implementation of its OBE programme.
At the Secondary and Senior Secondary levels, NIOS provides
flexibility in the choice of subjects/courses, pace of learning,
and transfer of credits from CBSE, some Board of School Education
and State Open Schools to enable learner's continuation. A learner
is extended as many as nine chances to appear in public
examinations spread over a period of five years. The credits gained
are accumulated till the learner clears required credits for
certification. The learning strategies include; learning through
printed self-instructional material, audio and video programmes,
participating in personal contact programme (PCP), and Tutor Marked
Assignments (TMA). Enrichment is also provided to the learners
through the half yearly magazine "Open Learning". The Study
Material is made available in English, Hindi and Urdu mediums. The
On-Demand Examination System (ODES) is in operation at Secondary
and Senior Secondary stage. NIOS offers 26 subject in seven mediums
(Hindi, English, Urdu, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati, Malayalam) for
Secondary Examinations and 19 subjects in Hindi, English and Urdu
mediums for Senior Secondary Examinations. Besides these, NIOS has
provision of offering Vocational subjects in combination with
Academic subjects at secondary stage and 20 vocational subjects in
combination with Academic subjects at Senior Seondary level.
Acknowledging the fact that the young entrepreneurs will be the
wealth of the nation, the learner friendly Vocational Education
programmes of NIOS provide excellent prospects for the learners. It
offers 86 Vocational Education programmes in different areas such
as Agriculture, Business and Commerce, Engineering and Technology,
Health and Paramedical, Home Science and Hospitality Management,
Teacher Training, Computer and IT related sectors, Life Enrichment
Programmes and General Services. Knowledge, skills and qualities of
entrepreneurship have been made essential components in curricula
for Vocational Education with emphasis on practical and on the job
training in related industrial units.
In order to upscale and place the Open Vocational Education
Programme on a sound pedestal, NIOS is seeking collaboration with
leading organizations in different educational development sectors
like Industries, Medicines, IT etc. Within the overall provisions
of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF-2005), NIOS has brought
out a significant documnet titled "Vocational Educaiton and
Training: A Framework on Curriculum Imparatives with a Foucs on
Knowledge Acquisition and Skills Development: Initiative through
Open and Distance Learning". It is hoped that this document with
prove useful as the basis for preparing a well deliberated
Programme of Action (POA) for implementation of Vocational
Education Programmes through ODL.
The NIOS programmes pay special attention towards requirements
of the first generation learners, physically, mentally and visually
challenged learners and candidates from disadvantaged sections of
How does NIOS Function?
NIOS operates through a network of five Departments, Regional
Centres and Accredited Institutions (Study Centres) in India and
abroad. It has a current enrolment of about 2.2 million students at
Secondary, Senior Secondary & Vocational levels which makes it
the largest open schooling system in the world.