The National Institute of Open Schooling (often abbreviated as NIOS, NOS or National Open School) was formerly known as National Open School (NOS), is the Board of Education for open schools in India. This autonomous body was established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) of the Government of India in 1989, to provide education inexpensively to remote areas. The NIOS is a national board that administers examination for Secondary and Senior Secondary examination of open schools similar to the CBSE and the CISCE.
It had a cumulative enrollment of about 1.5 million students from 2004-2009 at Secondary and Senior Secondary levels and enrolls about 350,000 students annually which makes it the largest open schooling system in the world. The National institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has entered into its adulthood and is just going to complete two decades of its existence in the field of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in the school education sector.
NIOS has been offering Secondary and Senior Secondary courses through 2144 study centers, Vocational Education & training (VET) courses through 1106 study centers and Open Basic Education Programme through 664 Accredited Agencies. There are 26 study centers of NIOS in overseas countries.
NIOS not only offers a wide spectrum of courses of study up to the pre-degree level for all categories of learners, but also works as a nodal institute for carrying forward the open school movement in the country in order to achieve the objective of developing an inclusive learning society. NIOS is providing a number of Vocational, Life Enrichment and community oriented courses besides General and Academic Courses at Secondary and Senior Secondary level.
It also offers Elementary level Courses through its Open Basic Education Programmes (OBE). Government of India through a gazette notification vested NIOS with the authority to examine and certify learners registered with it upto pre degree level courses.
The Open Schooling Association of the Commonwealth (OSAC), established with financial assistance from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), and having its Secretariat at NIOS New Delhi, functions as a liaisoning agency for information dissemination, coordination and mutual consultation among member countries. The mandate for OSAC is to organize human resource development programme’s for functionaries of Open Schools, promote research and development activities and take steps to ensure quality of standards. Through periodic meetings, the OSAC provides forum for discussion on issues of mutual interest and concerns.
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The NIOS board is moderated and designed by the conducted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) of the Government of India Council, to provide education inexpensively to remote areas. 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.
The Open Schooling Association of the Commonwealth (OSAC), was established with financial assistance from the International Collaboration of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), having its Secretariat at NIOS New Delhi and UNESCO in order to promote Open Schooling in India.
International Centre for Training in Open Schooling (ICTOS) is an advocacy programme set up by COL and UNESCO, the ICTOS offers Certificate, Advanced Certificate and Diploma courses in open schooling. It functions as a liasioning agency for information dissemination, coordination and mutual consultation among member countries.
The mandate for OSAC is to organize human resource development programme’s for functionaries of Open Schools, promote research and development activities and take steps to ensure quality of standards.
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.
NIOS operates through a network of five Departments, eleven Regional Centres and 3367 Accredited Institutions (Study Centres) in India and abroad. It has a current enrolment of about 1.5 million students at Secondary and Senior Secondary levels which makes it the largest open schooling system in the world.
Who can apply?
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 Open Basic Education (OBE) programme, the NIOS has partnership with about 341 Agencies providing facilities at their study centers. 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 popularization of OBE) to the voluntary agencies and Zila Saksharta Samities (ZSSs) etc., for implementation of its OBE programme.
Nature of the Board Grants
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, 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 adopted for NIOS Board of Education are:
NIOS offer the following courses:
Senior Secondary Syllabus
1. Hindi 2. English 3. Physics 4. Chemistry 5. Biology 6. Commerce (Business Studies) 7. Home Science 8. Mathematics 9. Geography 10. Political Science 11. Accountancy 12. Sociology 13. History 14. Computer Science 15. Painting 16. Psychology 17. Typewriting / Stenography 18. Word Processing 19. Secretarial Practice
1. Hindi 2. English 3. Science 4. Social Science 5. Business Studies 6. Psychology 7. Sanskrit 8. Home Science 9. Mathematics 10. Indian Culture & Heritage 11. Economics 12. Word Processing
The Taught Curriculum
Acknowledging the fact that the young entrepreneurs will be the wealth of the nation, the learner friendly Vocational Education programmes of NIOS provides excellent prospects for the learners.
Subjects of Examination:
The National Institute of Open Schooling has certain features in its evaluation system such as freedom to answer the questions in Public Examinations in any one of the scheduled regional languages, although the Question Papers supplied would generally be in English and Hindi/ available Regional mediums, only. Intimation letter and certificate have scanned photographs of the learners; and the information about examination centers and results are made available online. Besides, NIOS has been doing innovations in the evaluation system to maintain its credibility and standards. The On Demand Examination System (ODES) at Secondary and Senior Secondary level for the registered candidates is one such innovation.
Passing and Certification Criteria’s:
The passing and certification criteria for NIOS Board of Education is given in exhibit 5.1.
A minimum of 33% marks in the aggregate (Theory + Practical’s- where ever applicable) in the public examination
Pass in 5 subjects including at least one but not more than two languages
Senior Secondary Course
A minimum of 33% marks (separately in theory and Practical’s in subjects having both and also in aggregate) in the public examination
Pass in 5 subjects including at least one but not more than two languages
Exhibit 5.1 – Passing & Certification Criteria for NIOS Source: NIOS Website
Other Miscellaneous Fees:
In order to systematise the interaction between the NIOS and the State Open Schools and other agencies, it was considered appropriate to establish a forum under the NIOS in the form of a Consortium. The Board has regional Offices in Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh, Kolkata,Bhubaneswar, Kochi, Bhopal, Allahabad and Dehradun. The regional offices and jurisdictions/states covered by the NIOS Education board are given in exhibit 6.1 below
East Delhi, North Delhi, North East Delhi, North West Delhi, Jhajjar, Gautam Budh Nagar and Ghaziabad
South Delhi, West Delhi, South West Delhi, Central Delhi, New Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad
Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka
Maharashtra and Goa, Daman and Diu
Haryana (excluding Faridabad, Gurgaon and Jhajjar), Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh
Sikkim, West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Subcentre Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneswar – Sub Centre
Bihar and Jharkhand Kerala, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu
Tamilnadu, Kerala and Pondicherry
Rajasthan and Gujarat
Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh
UttarPradesh and sub Centre Dehradun
Sub Regional Centre - Dehradun
Uttrakhand, Meerut, Bagpat, Saharanpur, Muzzafarnagar, Moradabad and J.P. Nagar (Amroha), district of UP
Exhibit 6.1 – Regional Offices of NIOS Board Source: NIOS Website
The contact details of the NIOS board are given in exhibit 7.1 below:
Board of Education
National Institute of Open Schooling
A-24/25, Institutional Area,Sector - 62, Noida, Distt. Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh - 201 309
(+91)-120-4089832 / (+91)-120-4089835
Office Email Id
Toll Free No
Learner Support Centre (LSC) - 18001809393
Exhibit 7.1 – Contact Details - NIOS Education Board Source: NIOS Website
The details of key persons in the NIOS Education Board are given in exhibit 7.2
Key Person Details
Sh. C. Dharuman - Director (Evaluation)
Dr. K.P Wasnik - Director (Vocational Education)
(+91)-120-4089832 / (+91)-120-4089835
Dr. S.S. Jena – Chairman
Dr. Sushmita Mitra – Director (Student Support Services)
Key Management & Designation
Sh. G.G. Saxena, (IAS) – Secretary
Dr. K.P Wasnik - Director (VE) Director (Academic)
Exhibit 7.2 – Key Person Details – NIOS Education Board Source: NIOS Website
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.
The comparison between CBSE / ICSE and NIOS Education Board is given in exhibit 9.1:
1. CBSE board offers regular and full time curriculum
2.There is a recurring fee to be paid in case of CBSE board
3.The student gets assistance from school teachers and authorities during the course of study
4. The CBSE syllabus is presented in a more scientific manner
5. The ICSE / CBSE syllabus is heavier compared to NIOS. This prepares the students for competitive examinations (IIT-JEE & PMT) well in advance
6. Practical based learning especially with subjects like physics, chemistry and biology papers have since these have a lot of laboratory practical’s
7. The tuition costs are very high for every term in case of these boards and much higher as compared to the NIOS curriculum
8. CBSE/ICSE boards do allow the students flexibility in choosing subjects but there are fewer choices at the school level
9. There is no such provision in the case of CBSE/ICSE and other state board schools
10. There are maximum of 5 attempts that a student can make to clear his papers
1. NIOS is not a regular education board
2. In the case of NIOS you have to pay a one time fee
3.There is no guidance or help from teachers and school authorities, the students have to study on their own
4. NIOS is not as comprehensive and in depth curriculum as the CBSE/ICSE education boards
5. the NIOS syllabus is not as heavy as the ones offered by CBSE/ICSE and other state boards
6. No practical based learning.Learning is mainly through printed self-instructional material
7. Fee structure is much lower than that offered by other education boards
8. NIOS provides flexibility in the choice of subjects/courses and pace of learning
9. NIOS provides transfer of credits from CBSE, Board of School Education and State Open Schools to enable learner’s continuation
10. 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
Exhibit 9.1 – Comparison of CBSE/ICSE Education Boards with NIOS Source: NIOS Website
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