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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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)
- Promote setting up of State Open Schools by providing resource
support (advocacy, consultancy etc.) to the State Education
- Establish smooth coordination and collaboration among Open
Schools by sharing of expertise, ideas, information and experience
in Open Schooling.
- Provide financial support and academic guidelines to the State
Open Schools (SOSs).
- Determine standards of Open and Distance Learning system at
school level and a mechanism for pace setting in the country.
- 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
- Promote research and innovations in Open Schooling.
- Facilitate capacity building of Open Schooling
- 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
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 NCOS
- Chairman NIOS : Member
- Chairpersons of State Open Schools (SOSs) : Members
- Chairpersons of the Boards of School Education of the States
not having SOSs : Special Invitees (To be invited as per
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 : (To be elected)
- Vice-Chairperson : (To be elected)
- Secretary : (To be elected)
- Two more members : (Elected members)
- Convener : Incharge NCOS Secretariat shall be the Convener of
the Executive Board of NCOS and will co-ordinate the activities of
Functioning of the
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
- Upscaling of Open Schooling Programme at National and State
level through advocacy, consultancy and research support.
The steps include:
- To promote the concept of open schooling and highlight its
potential to local, state and national governments;
- To work towards popularising this form of education among
potential participants in the states;
- To advocate and lobby for increased participation by open
schools practitioners in policy-making for education at national
- To highlight the need for National Qualifications Frameworks
and examination systems that can accommodate the particular
requirements of open schooling;
- 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.
- Quality Assurance in Open Schooling.
The steps include:
- To develop acceptable standards for the delivery of ODL
- To promote the provision of quality support services (e.g.
administrative, tutorials, guidance and counselling, etc.);
- To support the monitoring of these standards by making
arrangements for peer reviews, formal audits and State's evaluation
- To take advocacy initiatives to implement these standards in
NIOS and SOSs.
- Capacity Building of Open Schooling functionaries.
The steps include:
- 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);
- To build consensus among open schooling professionals on
ethics, performance standards and elements of best practices;
- To build and strengthen the internal capacity of member
institutions by providing technical assistance, consultancies,
training and other support services; and
- To provide advice and technical support for new open schools,
as well as for existing open schools undergoing a process of
restructuring or transformation.
- Evolving strategies related to Coordination and Clearing House
Functions and their operationalisation.
The steps include:
- To visualise and operatioanlise strategies for sharing of
information, ideas and experience among NCOS member
- To facilitate the formation of consortia to pursue joint
- To coordinate, administer and/or manage the activities of such
- Evolving strategies for sharing of resources among Open Schools
in India (NIOS and SOSs).
The steps include:
- To facilitate the formation of consortia for acquisition and/or
development of shared learning materials and/or programmes;
- To establish and promote other initiatives for sharing
materials, resources and expertise among the NCOS members;
- To identify and exploit cost-efficient technologies for sharing
- Evolving effective Networking System for smooth channels of
communication among NIOS and SOSs.
The steps include:
- 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;
- To facilitate the exchange of information on current
developments in open schooling;
- To encourage and support mutual learning from experience;
- To strengthen collaboration between open schools within the
- Organising/facilitating Study Visits of NIOS and SOSs Faculty
to Open Schools and other concerned Organisations.
- Preparation of Profiles of NIOS and SOSs.
- Documentation of significant achievements of NIOS and SOSs and
- Bringing out Quarterly Newsletter of NCOS Secretariat
highlighting significant activities of NIOS and SOSs.
- Bringing out an Indian Journal of Open Schooling by NCOS in
which NIOS and the SOSs and others will contribute Articles.
- 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.
- Evolving strategies for promoting research and innovations in
Open Schooling and documentation of the same.
The steps include:
- 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,
- 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;
- 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;
- To build internal capacity within member institutions by
facilitating the involvement and participation of their staff in
national research projects;
- To disseminate the findings of research.
- For the purpose of achieving the aims and objectives, NCOS may:
- Establish such internal structures as the Executive Board of
NCOS may deem necessary;
- Enter into agreements with any person, organisation, government
or other body upon such conditions as may be mutually agreed;
- Compile, publish and distribute research and other educational
materials, and to assert copyright over such materials;
- 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.
- NCOS, through its Executive Board, may pursue global
partnerships with other institutions and bodies toward the
advancement of open schooling.