In India NIOS is best option as an alternative to regular schooling because at times its not possible for masses who want to acquire education to study regularly because of their different kind disability and crisis. On the other hand nios education system does not have any time boundations so that students can also work part time. Or student who cannot attend the classes can study from their homes.
One reason for this is, we suggest, because in India distance education is so accepted as an alternative route to educational qualifications that it is actually the first choice route for many who wish to study at the same time as they work or are confined to the home.
It may be indicative of an emerging trend – that female students see a greater sense and purpose in education that promises economic independence and better life, pointing to a social change in progress and so to NIOS as a change agent. Available data also shows that NIOS is offering a real alternative to school-aged children. As Table 4.7 shows, over 7 out of 10 (74 per cent) of NIOS's secondary school students are aged 15 to 20, and nearly nine out of ten (88.7 per cent) are aged 15 to 25. NIOS is reaching out to those who are using it as an alternative route to secondary education.
In contrast, NIOS, in conjunction with the various State Open Schools, can be described as offering an alternative system to formal schooling. The vast majority of NIOS’s 290,983 (junior) secondary and senior secondary school students (Table 4.5) are out-of-formal-school learners and school drop-outs, working adults, housewives, learners from disadvantaged sectors of society and learners living in remote areas of India.
In other words, NIOS is not acting as a second chance route for adults who were for a variety of reasons unable at an earlier stage in their life to study at secondary level.
Where Open Schooling is aimed at adults who missed out on their schooling, the argument is sometimes made that adults need to study a different curriculum – one more suited to their needs than that aimed at those of school age. Such considerations may lead to the development of an alternative curriculum. Such forms of Open Schooling can be seen as an alternative to the conventional formal system, and as such are classified as part of the non-formal education system. Of course it may be that the demand for Open Schooling is not so much geared to the provision of an alternative curriculum for an alternative market, but rather to provide a supply of places teaching traditional subjects to children and young adults who cannot get into a conventional school.
There are many countries where there simply are not enough places in conventional schools to meet the level of frustrated demand that exists for education. In these circumstances, what is provided is not so much an alternative to the formal primary and secondary experience but a complement to the formal one that uses the mode of distance education to do this. 235 Two alternative approaches can therefore be envisaged:
• A complementary Open Schooling system offering the same curriculum for children and youths who have never been in a position to attend the formal, classroom-based school system or who, having attended the formal education system, have had to drop-out because they have had to start working or because their grades have been too poor for them to progress through the grades and various examination hurdles.
• An alternative Open Schooling system offering a different, more adult-relevant curriculum for adults who never had a chance to have or complete their formal education at school level (and perhaps some out-of-school youth, for whom an alternative curriculum – generally more vocationally-oriented – is seen as more appropriate).
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