The institute will work on the lines of National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), which has 3,000 centres run by the Centre across India.(HT)
The institute will work on the lines of National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), which has 3,000 centres run by the Centre across India.(HT)

Maharashtra to get open schools to help reduce drop-out rate

Mumbai city news: To arrest the number of drop-outs and increase literacy, the state’s school education department on Friday passed a resolution to start the Maharashtra Institute of Open Schooling (MIOS)
By Puja Pednekar | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUL 15, 2017 12:35 AM IST

Differently abled students, senior citizens and those pursuing folk arts and sports will be able to appear for class 5, 8, 10 and 12 equivalent exams even if they don’t go to a regular school. 

To arrest the number of drop-outs and increase literacy, the state’s school education department on Friday passed a resolution to start the Maharashtra Institute of Open Schooling (MIOS), which will have an easier syllabus, flexible exams, and skill-based subjects for those who cannot attend regular school. 

The institute will work on the lines of National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), which has 3,000 centres run by the Centre across India. “NIOS curriculum is national and does not cater to the needs of Maharashtra’s students,” said Suvarna Kharat, deputy secretary of education. 

MIOS will be part of the state board, that conducts class 5, 8, 10 and 12 equivalent exams, held in March-April and October-November with the regular board exams. It will follow a separate assessment style. 

One of its major features is that students do not have to appear for the minimum five subjects required to pass the exam at once. They can spread it over nine exams in five years, which means they can study for one or two subjects at a time. This is good for academically slow learners. 

Another advantage is that language subjects will carry 50 marks for written and 50 for practical exams. An 80-20 pattern will be followed in science. SSC board has discontinued this in Class 9 this year. 

As a special provision, students who want to pursue a career in sports and folk arts will be allowed to take the class 10 and 12 exam if they have formal schooling till class 9 or 10. “These students don’t get time to attend regular schools, so they will benefit from the flexibility of the open schooling system,” said Kharat. 

The department has found that nearly five lakh students drop out of school between classes 1 and 10 in the state. Government schemes, including the provision to write Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams as private candidates directly after class 9, have not been successful. 

“One of the major reasons why the pass rate of private students is poor is that they have to study the same thing and write exams in the same pattern,” said Nand Kumar, principal secretary of the department, who issued the resolution. He added that open schooling would address the needs of such students better.

Pros of open schooling 

Will develop best practices for informal education 

Reduce the rate of drop-outs and failures 

Will benefit senior citizens, women, workers, and others to avail education 

Imparting vocational education that will help in different walks of life 

Special concessions will be provided to suit the needs of differently-abled students 

Make education facilities available at a local level 

Cons of taking exams as private candidates:

Syllabus and textbooks are same as the regular students

Question paper and assessment is the same

It doesn’t test students on their vocational skills, knowledge

Not many provisions for students with special needs Open schooling 

Who can qualify? 

For Class 5 equivalent: 

Minimum age: 10 years 

Subjects: Three languages, environmental studies, and math 

Documents: Birth certificate, records of past exams both formal and informal. In case of informal, an undertaking from parents will be sufficient. 

Class 8 equivalent 

Minimum age: 13 years 

Subjects: Three languages, social studies, science, math, skill-development subjects, 

Differently-abled students can opt for any five subjects (but minimum two languages will be compulsory) 

Class 10 exam 

Minimum age: 15 years 

Subjects: Any five subjects including two compulsory languages: Science and technology, economics, social studies, commerce, agricultural science and technology, skill-development subjects, or one of the pre-vocational subjects such as bakery, tailoring, screen painting, Indian music, among others: 

Must have passed class 5 at least 

Must be a resident of Maharashtra for minimum two years 

Affidavit that applicant is not enrolled in any school 

Transfer of credit: Those who want to opt for open schooling after failing SSC exams will be able to get their credits transferred 

Class 12 exam 

Minimum age: 17 years 

Subjects will depend on chosen stream-arts, science, commerce. 

Differently-abled students- One compulsory language + four subjects 

Must have passed class 10 exam from any recognized education board 

Stayed in Maharashtra for minimum two years 

SSC board students will be able to avail transfer of credit  

How will the exams be held: 

Registrations will open six months before exams: March-April & October-November 

Registrations will be valid for five years 

Evaluation: 

Primary: Each paper will be divided into 50 marks written exam and 50 marks orals or practicals 

Upper primary: 100 marks divided into 60 written and 40 practicals or orals 

Secondary: Pre-vocational: 50 written + 50 practical 

Languages: 50 written+ 50 practical, oral, projects 

Science: 80 written + 20 practical 

You do not have to appear for all the subjects in one year. It can be spread over five years and nine exams 

Internal assessment will be compulsory it will be on homework completion 

Class 12: 

Languages and science: 80 written + 20 practicals, orals 

Exam will be offered in Marathi, English, Urdu, and Hindi

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