With a special focus on differently-abled students, the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is currently teaching 103 skill courses across domains to secondary and senior secondary students. Additionally, these courses are also being extended to school dropout girl students from the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalay(KGBVs) in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
“At present, we offer 103 skill-oriented courses to the students of classes X to XII which also includes children with special needs. Skill courses related to Cookery, IT sector, Carpentry, Horticulture, Agriculture, Secretarial Practices and other office related work, Home Science, Engineering, Health and Paramedical including Yoga and Wellness are taught. Learners with special needs particularly show keen interest in courses such as Beauty culture and Cutting and Tailoring. These courses are inclusive in nature and cater to heterogeneous group of learners.”said Saroj Sharma, chairman, NIOS,
“We also equate and validate the courses of Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) students. As emphasised in New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the line dividing conventional and vocational courses has blurred to some extent. Any student can opt for any vocational course along with the conventional academic course and there exists no boundary between the two.”
For instance, a student in a Science stream can also take up a skill course related to Cookery. An MoU signed in July 2021, on 6TH World Skill Day, with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has helped in educating non-literates, neo-literates and persons with rudimentary education through open basic education of NIOS. “Girls from KGBVs in Rajasthan and Gujarat are getting skill training in many courses besides the conventional subjects.”
“The vocational courses are transacted and delivered through self-instructional material, practical manual and regular radio and live TV programmes and the students can assess these video programmes on the PM e-Vidya channel. In addition to this, all the students are attached to a study centre for hands-on practice for practical oriented subjects, ” adds Sharma.