ALL Ongoing Examination stands postponed .Newgood

Foreword

Educational Development is a fundamental requirement for all sorts of development such as social and economic development. In our Indian context education controls all developmental aspects of the Man and the Society. It is a matter of great concern that after 50 years of our proclamation to achieve free and compulsory education for all the citizens up to the age of 14, we have not been able to provide education to a large number of children. The framers of the Constitution, while deciding the date of achieving the goal by 1960, might have thought that if the schools are provided within walking distance of each village, it will lead to the universal enrolment and retention. This was based, in my opinion, on a western education paradigm, based on "trickle-down" development paradigm. It did not succeed for the obvious reasons, because it did not satisfy the educational needs of the people living in rural India - Bharat. The elementary education has been bifurcated into two stages - primary and upper primary - with the result that a large number of drop out occur at the first stage i.e. primary. Efforts are continued to provide schooling to this age group (6-11) of children rather vigorously. In the present situation, when education is being seen as ''fundamental right of the child'', it is absolutely necessary, that we should explore alternative channels to cover all children up to the age of 14 years besides the formal schooling.

In the formal schools, the number of children effectively enrolled and retained upto the upper primary stage is about 1/3rd of the total population (about 210 million) of school goers. If we want to cover the out of school children of this age group (2/3 of this population) only through formal education, we will require at least double the number of existing primary/elementary schools that is on the ground today. It will mean that the financial outlay of this particular sector will have to be trebled apart from the non-recurring cost of opening new elementary schools. It is, therefore, necessary for us to look for alternative modes of schooling.

Open Schooling is a viable alternative. It provides opportunity for continuing and developmental education to learners of all ages particularly (i) the children who are out of schools - dropouts and non starters (ii) the adult population who are either illiterates or are coming out of the total literacy campaign (TLC) or post literacy campaign (PLC) of the National Literacy Mission (NLM). Open Schooling uses Distance Education Mode (DEM). DEM is one of the potential areas particularly at the upper primary level when the child/ adult has acquired the skill of reading, writing and comprehension.

Need of the hour is to explore the potentialities of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education.
National Open School has initiated to this process by conducting the study on "Reaching the Unreached - Use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education" and organising a National Workshop to discuss the conclusions of study besides other initiatives that have been taken up. Ways and means need to be explored by all of us for using distance education mode at the basic education level. The UNESCO has joined hands in promoting the cause of Open Schooling at the elementary level and I record my deepest appreciation for the same.

The workshop has been a collective endeavour. Thought, initiative and hard labour of many have gone into it to make it a success. I am thankful to all concerned without whose help it would have not been possible to organise the workshop and bring it to a successful conclusion.

I take this opportunity to express my appreciation, to all my colleagues, particularly Dr. S.S. Sangal and Dr. H.L. Sharma who remained involved in this task throughout.

Looking forward to all concerned with great expectation to chalk out new paths of using Distance Education Mode (DEM) in Basic Education.

Place : New Delhi (N.K)

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