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National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS):

What is NIOS?

NIOS is the largest open schooling system in the world.

Since 1991, around three million students have been certified at the Secondary and Senior Secondary levels.

Every year, around five hundred thousand students seek admission to various courses at the OBE, Secondary and Senior Secondary levels.

NIOS has more than 5500 Study Centres all over India, where students can learn and take examinations.

Study Centres are also available in the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Muscat and Nepal outside India.

How does the NIOS system function?

NIOS follows the principle of freedom to learn.

NIOS offers a system of Open Basic Education (OBE) to establish equivalency at Class Class III, V and VIII levels for both children and adults. The OBE program for children and adults is offered through 690 accredited agencies, which include voluntary, non-governmental (NGO) and government agencies such as the Zilla Saaksharata Samithis and Jan Shikshan Samsthans.

Apart from this, it offers programs towards Secondary and Senior Secondary certification, equivalent to Class X and XII, and vocational programs for students from various sections and classes of society.

NIOS offers multiple languages of instruction at the Secondary and Senior Secondary stage, and the student may opt for the medium/language of their choice.

NIOS imparts learning through various means, using a range of media including print audio, video and data supported by personal contact programs.

NIOS also has Special Accredited Institutions for Education of the Disadvantaged (SAIED) to cater to the needs of the physically and otherwise challenged students, and those from the disadvantaged sections of society .

The Government of India has vested NIOS with the authority to to conduct Secondary and Senior Secondary examinations and certify students in the same manner as it has the CBSE and CISCE boards. These are the only three boards that are universally recognized by all institutions of higher learning in India.

Admission to the system:

NIOS admissions can be done online or through Study Centres, both at the Secondary and Senior Secondary levels.

There is no upper age limit for admission. The minimum age for admission to Secondary courses is 14 and that for admission to Senior Secondary is 15.

Admission to the NIOS may be done through one of four ways:

  • Directly register online,
  • Visit the nearest Accredited Institution or Facilitation Centre and seek help with registration,
  • Visit the Regional Centre of NIOS and seek help with admission, or
  • Visit the Common Services Centres of the Ministry of Information & Technology of the government of India.

How does a student choose what subjects to take?

The student may choose subjects in combinations from out of a broad spectrum of subjects offered by NIOS.

If the student wishes to use the NIOS certificate to apply for admission to courses of higher study, the student will have to choose subjects keeping in mind the combinations required by the various courses that he/she wants to pursue.

Students will take a minimum of five subjects made up of one or two languages from Group A and the rest from Group B.

In addition, students may opt to take two additional subjects from either of the two Groups, A or B.

The total number of subjects that students can take is seven.

This is applicable for students both at the Secondary and the Senior Secondary level.

Students may opt to take one vocational subject out of the two additional subjects from the subjects listed in Table II, so long as the subject is not also present in Table I, Group B.

A student may also take part - admission in one or more subjects, subject to a maximum of four subjects. On completion, the student will be issued with a mark sheet for only those subjects, but no certificate.

What is the system for examinations?

The student decides what, when, and how to learn and when to appear in an examination. There are no restrictions as to when, where and how fast you learn. The system permits home schooling.

During the course of study, students' progress will be constantly assessed through a system of Tutor Marked Assessments (TMA's) and Personal Contact Programs (PCP's).

Public examinations are held by the NIOS twice a year. The student may take up to nine examinations spread over a period of five years to complete the course of study.

Students may also choose from any of the following methods to get evaluated and certified:

  • The public examination offered by NIOS
  • On demand examination system (ODES), and
  • A mix of both the above.

Accumulation & Transfer of credit:

NIOS permits a student to accumulate and answer credits.

A student may appear in one or more subjects in any examination, and earn credit, which may then be accumulated till all the five required subjects are successfully completed, provided that this entire process is completed within a period of five years.

This means that a student is not required to appear for examinations for all five subjects at the same time, but may opt to take the examinations individually at a time of their choice, and accumulate credit for the examinations taken at various times, subject to completion of all the examinations within the stipulated time of five years.

Transfer of credits is permitted for upto two subjects from any Board recognized by NIOS, provided these subjects are also offered by NIOS.

NIOS achievers:

  • Mary Kom, Boxer, Bronze at 2012 London Olympics
  • Kava Madhavan, Malayalam movie actress
  • Dipika Pallikal, Professional Squash player, world ranking-10
  • Somdev Devvarman, Tennis Gold medal, Commonwealth Games
  • Varun Thakkar, Sailing Champion, Bronze in 15th Asian Sailing Championship, 2012
  • Armaan Ebrahim, Formula 2 Champion, 2014
  • Athira Krishna, violinist, Guiness world record

The NIOS program is especially advantageous for those students who are:

  • Not native speakers of English and therefore have lower than average English competency
  • Students with learning disabilities such as Dyslexia or ADHD
  • Slow learners and those who wish to write examinations in their mother tongue
  • Children with special talent/proficiency in sports and games, aspiring for a career in those areas
  • Children who do not wish to take certain subjects but instead wish to opt for other subjects of their choice, but still receive a Certificate of completion of Senior Secondary level from a nationally recognized board.