Akanksha Rastogi scored 60 per cent in her boards. Hoping to pursue science, she found the doors to reputed schools shut. After two years on Tuesday, she passed her Class-XII exams in not just physics, chemistry and mathematics but also scored over 80 per cent.
“Without open schools, things would have been very difficult for students like me,” says Akanksha, who is now ready to take on the IIT entrance exam.
“If I had remained with CBSE, I would not have got the physics and mathematics combination, a must for engineering entrance exams, in any good school. I could get around that, thanks to NIOS,” she says.
The National Institute of Open Learning (NIOS) set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development is full of success stories like Akanksha’s.
When big, reputed schools turn you down due to lesser marks, the NIOS keeps its doors open and your hopes for a bright future alive. “Here, the student decides what subjects to study and what time of the day he wants to study them. And we have unlimited seats,” says D.S. Bisht, secretary, NIOS.
For Senior Secondary (Class-XII equivalent), a student needs to take four subjects choosing from a platter of 25. The good part is, you can make a whole new combination of your own if you so desire. “Take Mathematics, History and Accountancy if that’s what you want to study. There is unlimited flexibility,” Bish says.
Reputed schools like DPS RK Puram and Vasant Valley are NIOS study centres, or students’ contact point with the institute. These centres facilitate admission and studeis. Here, teachers of these schools teach NIOS students every week. “So, you get the faculty of some of the best schools teaching you twice a week,” said Shyama Chona, principal or DPS RK Puram. “We also hold career counseling for NIOS students,” she added.
The concept is also a hit among low-scoring students who want to start with vocational studies or may be, a job alongside pursuing conventional academics.
“An NIOS student sitting for English Honours entrance tests at a top DU college is no less qualified to clear the hurdle than his CBSE counterpart,” he says.
The course material, provided by the institute, is rich in content. “And unlike the more popular boards, we have not dumbed down our quality,” says Bisht.
This year, around 1.5 lakh students will take the Senior Secondary exam, a bit more than previous year’s figures. Looking at the growing popularity, NIOS will now start online admission process.
Moreover, from this year, NIOS will start tracking its students who pass Class-XII. “We want to see which college they get into and what field they shine in. This data will provide inspiration to future students,” Bish says.