The Framework

The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), which has emerged as the largest Open Schooling system in the world, has a pivotal role to play in the promotion and development of Open Schooling in the country. However, it is not possible for NIOS alone to cater to the needs of all regions of our multi lingual and multicultural country (India). The Open Schooling system is required to be promoted and strengthened in all the States of the country to "reach the unreached". NIOS has, therefore, been pursuing the State Education Departments to set up State Open Schools (SOSs).The NIOS has been providing professional and technical support services to States to set up State Open Schools to cater to the educational requirements of the clientele/students.

With a view to systematise interaction and mutual consultation among the Open Schools at national level (NIOS) and at State level (SOSs), it was considered appropriate to establish a Consortium of Open Schools.

The National Consortium for Open Schooling (NCOS) was launched in September, 1997, with a view to facilitate better cooperation, coordination, collaboration and determining standards in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system at school education level in the country. The Secretariat of NCOS is located in NIOS. In order to meet the educational challenges, the Framework of NCOS has been modified by including its Vision, Mission, Constitution and Perspective.

The major objectives of NCOS are:

The main objectives of the NCOS are as follows:

  • To promote setting up of State Open Schools (SOSs) in the States by providing professional, technical and academic support services to the State Education Departments.
  • To promote advocacy for Open and Distance Learning (ODL) and upscaling of the Open Schooling Programme in India.
  • To facilitate networking and establish collaboration among Open Schools in India by sharing of resources, expertise and experiences in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) at school level.
  • To determine standards of the Open and Distance Learning system at school stage to ensure pace setting in programmes and activities of Open Schools.
  • To assist the State Open Schools (SOSs) in designing need based specific curriculum and self instructional material in the regional languages.
  • To maintain database of the Open Schooling Programme.
  • To promote research in Open Schooling in India.
  • To assist in capacity building of personnel working in Open Schools.
  • To coordinate with international agencies.

Vision of NCOS

The National Consortium for Open Schooling (NCOS) shall strive to facilitate coordination among Open Schools in India and sharing of resources through collaborative networking for access to sustainable school education, skill upgradation and training to all through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode of education.

Mission of NCOS

To strive for coordinated development of learner-centric open schooling (OS) system and to ensure high quality of school education, meet challenges of access and equity to reach the un-reached, the National Consortium for Open Schooling (NCOS) shall:

  1. Promote setting up of State Open Schools by providing resource support (advocacy, consultancy etc.) to the State Education Departments.
  2. Establish smooth coordination and collaboration among Open Schools by sharing of expertise, ideas, information and experience in Open Schooling.
  3. Provide financial support and academic guidelines to the State Open Schools (SOSs).
  4. Determine standards of Open and Distance Learning system at school level and a mechanism for pace setting in the country.
  5. Encourage use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Open Schooling programmes and provide opportunities for sharing technological resources and competencies through inter-Open Schools partnership/consortia.
  6. Promote research and innovations in Open Schooling.
  7. Facilitate capacity building of Open Schooling functionaries.
  8. Creating databases of the State Open Schools and functionaries associated with the Open Schooling system

Meetings of NCOS

The Convener shall issue notices for convening meetings of the Executive Board and the General Body of NCOS.

The Convener shall be responsible for ensuring that a clear and accurate record of the official business of NCOS is prepared and maintained, including minutes of meetings of the General Body and Executive Board.

Additionally, the Convener shall be responsible for overseeing the preservation of all records of the NCOS.

General Body of NCOS

The General Body of NCOS comprises of the Chairpersons of all Open Schools in India

  • Chairman NCOS : Chairman NIOS
  • Members : As per the Constitution of NCOS, the Chairpersons of SOSs are the members of the General Body of NCOS

The General Body of NCOS will suggest the lines on which cooperation, coordination and networking among Open Schools may take place for promotion and up scaling of Open Schooling programme in the country.

Executive Board of NCOS

  • Chairperson : Chairman, NIOS
  • Member Secretary : Secretary, NIOS
  • Vice-Chairperson
  • Secretary
  • Joint Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Other members

Functioning of the NCOS

The NCOS Secretariat may request the SOSs to suggest Agenda Items for discussion in the forum of NCOS. The NCOS Secretariat is to prepare the Agenda Papers for NCOS Meetings by taking into consideration the needs of the States as also of goal of Universalisation of School Education.

The NCOS Secretariat shall ensure follow up action on the recommendations of the Meetings, Conferences, Seminars etc., of NCOS. The NCOS Secretariat shall pursue the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to make provision of funds for Promotion and Upscaling of the Open Schooling programme at national level and at State level, particularly to meet the goal of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).

Aims and Objectives of NCOS

NCOS aims to achieve a number of outcomes which have been grouped as follows.

  1. To promote setting up of State Open Schools (SOSs) in the States by providing professional, technical and academic support services to the State Education Departments.
    1. To promote the concept of open schooling and highlight its potential to local, state and national governments;
    2. To work towards popularising this form of education among potential participants in the states;
    3. To advocate and lobby for increased participation by open schools practitioners in policy-making for education at national level;
    4. To highlight the need for National Qualifications Frameworks and examination systems that can accommodate the particular requirements of open schooling;
    5. To promote mechanisms for the Recognition of Prior Learning and for the accumulation and transfer of credits that will enable those who take part in open schooling to move freely into other forms of education and training or vice-versa.
  2. Quality Assurance in Open Schooling.
    The steps include:
    1. To develop acceptable standards for the delivery of ODL programmes;
    2. To promote the provision of quality support services (e.g. administrative, tutorials, guidance and counselling, etc.);
    3. To support the monitoring of these standards by making arrangements for peer reviews, formal audits and State's evaluation missions; and
    4. To take advocacy initiatives to implement these standards in NIOS and SOSs.
  3. Capacity Building of Open Schooling functionaries.
    The steps include:
    1. To provide opportunities for continuing professional development and skills upgrading for open schooling practitioners (for example, through workshops, study tours, staff exchanges and/or discussion forums for specialised staff);
    2. To build consensus among open schooling professionals on ethics, performance standards and elements of best practices;
    3. To build and strengthen the internal capacity of member institutions by providing technical assistance, consultancies, training and other support services; and
    4. To provide advice and technical support for new open schools, as well as for existing open schools undergoing a process of restructuring or transformation
  4. Evolving strategies related to Coordination and Clearing House Functions and their operationalisation.
    The steps include:
    1. To visualise and operatioanlise strategies for sharing of information, ideas and experience among NCOS member organisations;
    2. To facilitate the formation of consortia to pursue joint projects; and
    3. To coordinate, administer and/or manage the activities of such consortia.
  5. Evolving strategies for sharing of resources among Open Schools in India (NIOS and SOSs).
    The steps include:
    1. To facilitate the formation of consortia for acquisition and/or development of shared learning materials and/or programmes;
    2. To establish and promote other initiatives for sharing materials, resources and expertise among the NCOS members;
    3. To identify and exploit cost-efficient technologies for sharing information.
  6. Evolving effective Networking System for smooth channels of communication among NIOS and SOSs.
    The steps include:
    1. To provide opportunities for managers and staff from open schools to communicate, meet and interact with one another to raise and discuss issues of mutual concern;
    2. To facilitate the exchange of information on current developments in open schooling;
    3. To encourage and support mutual learning from experience;
    4. To strengthen collaboration between open schools within the country.
  7. Organising/facilitating Study Visits of NIOS and SOSs Faculty to Open Schools and other concerned Organisations.
  8. Preparation of Profiles of NIOS and SOSs.
  9. Documentation of significant achievements of NIOS and SOSs and their dissemination.
  10. Bringing out Quarterly Newsletter of NCOS Secretariat highlighting significant activities of NIOS and SOSs.
  11. Bringing out an Indian Journal of Open Schooling by NCOS in which NIOS and the SOSs and others will contribute Articles.
  12. Organising periodic Conferences, Seminars, Meetings of NCOS and taking follow up action on the recommendations of such Meets with the help of NIOS, SOSs and other concerned Organisations.
  13. Evolving strategies for promoting research and innovations in Open Schooling and documentation of the same.
    The steps include:
    1. To collect basic data and maintain a database of open schools, including (but not limited to): level(s) at which education is provided, details of programmes/courses offered, technologies used and key statistics (e.g., enrolments, number of local study centres, staff complement, assessments/measurements of impact, etc.);
    2. To facilitate the standardisation of definitions and measures (for example, of student numbers, Full-Time Equivalent students, drop-out rates, examination pass rates, etc.) to assist open schools in determining what data they should collect and to allow for meaningful comparisons between open schools;
    3. To design studies for researching aspects of open schooling, including (but not limited to): tracer studies to identify the benefits and/or limitations of participation in OS;
    4. To build internal capacity within member institutions by facilitating the involvement and participation of their staff in national research projects;
    5. To disseminate the findings of research.
  14. For the purpose of achieving the aims and objectives, NCOS may:
    1. Establish such internal structures as the Executive Board of NCOS may deem necessary;
    2. Enter into agreements with any person, organisation, government or other body upon such conditions as may be mutually agreed;
    3. Compile, publish and distribute research and other educational materials, and to assert copyright over such materials;
    4. Perform any tasks and do all other things that may be required, incidental or conducive to the attainment of the aims and objectives of the Consortium.
  15. NCOS, through its Executive Board, may pursue global partnerships with other institutions and bodies toward the advancement of open schooling.