Schools affiliated to the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), one of the world’s largest open schooling systems, can conduct exams for students up to Class 8 until March 2015.
The previous deadline was March 2013. The government has clarified that the deadline was extended in an affidavit dated July 16 filed in the Delhi high court. It was submitted as part of an ongoing matter in which a petitioner had argued for her right to be home-schooled. In a previous hearing in April, the court had asked the central government what the fate of the NIOS would be.
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, provides for free and compulsory schooling for children between six and 14 years. Thus the exams conducted for Class 3, 5 and 8 by schools affiliated to NIOS for students outside the formal school set-up would have had to be discontinued. But, a government-appointed committee had then said the NIOS’ open schooling programme could continue for a period after March 2013, which the government has now said will be until March 2015.
The NIOS conducts exams at various levels. It operates an Open Basic Education programme, and exams are conducted by the affiliated school with academic support from the NIOS. Mumbai has three NIOS affiliated schools and the certificate comes from the school. NIOS also conducts exams for students completing Classes 10 and 12, in which the certificate is given by NIOS. The third set of exams is for vocational educational streams.