Chairman's Message & Brief Profile

Chairman's Message

The National institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has entered into its adulthood and completed two decades of its existence in the field of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in the school education sector. This journey of the Institute has been quite successful. With about 2.71 million students on its roll, NIOS is credited to be the largest open school in the world with significant popularity in the Commonwealth countries and in certain other developing and developed countries. NIOS has been offering Secondary and Senior Secondary and Vocational Education & training (VET) courses through its study centers and Open Basic Education Programme through Accredited Agencies.

NIOS not only offers a wide spectrum of courses of study up to the pre-degree level for all categories of learners, but also works as a nodal institute for carrying forward the open school movement in the country in order to achieve the objective of developing an inclusive learning society. This has been possible due to dedication and unstinting support from all faculty and staff of the institute and other stakeholders. However, there are some tasks and issues that need quick intervention and concerted attention as indicated below :

1.The success of ODL system largely depends on satisfaction of its learners, not only in terms of what is the quality of academic support they receive but also up to what extent they are empowered during the learning process. NIOS needs to work in this direction by consolidating and strengthening its academic support system.

2.The National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2005) has posed several challenges of education before all of us, particularly in the school education sector; not only what is to be learnt but also to ensure the effectiveness of the process of learning. It emphasizes giving more freedom and autonomy to the learner. Hence, there is a need to revisit the curriculum of NIOS for making learning more and more learner oriented.

3.NIOS needs to focus more on those disadvantaged groups of the society, who have been discriminated against getting education for long due to varied socio-economic reasons. We are in the process of developing workable and implementable action plans with due priority for reaching the unreached and uplifting them in the social structure by providing relevant and need based quality education. Besides SCs, STs, Girls and differently abled, NIOS has visualized a programme of education of minorities. The programme for education of minorities has already been started and it is in the process of expansion.

4.In recent years, the modern technologies have been playing varied roles. Among other things, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is being used widely by NIOS in the school education arena, particularly at the secondary and senior secondary levels. A comprehensive vision and perspective plan is being developed to harness the benefits of ICT for facilitating teaching-learning and other ODL endeavours. We are taking several steps for empowering the distance learners through our own efforts and by using the public-private partnership (PPP) mode of cooperation and collaboration. Some of the significant ICT based programmes that need focused attentions are:

a.On-line admission
b.On-Demand Examination System (ODES)
c.Interactive Voice Response system (IVRS)
d.24x7 admission facility.

5.Capacity building of functionaries is an integral part of the ODL system. It is all the more important in the school education sector keeping in view the fact that a large number of personnel are associated with the system for planning, implementation and monitoring of educational programmes. NIOS has to develop a comprehensive system to ensure that the capacity building activities becomes an integral component at all levels including the functionaries working under the State Open Schools (SOSs). We have to make the open schooling system a vibrant agent to meet this challenge of capacity building of ODL functionaries not only at the national level; but also at the international level with support from international agencies like the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and UNESCO.

6.In any instructional process, including ODL, research is an integral component not only to strengthen the system internally but also to contribute significantly to meet the national and societal goals. This area needs to be given significant attention for strengthening the instructional process as well as for making education relevant and need based to the learners. These efforts will prove useful in placing the open schooling programme on a sound pedestal.

7.NIOS is making concerted efforts for development of ODL system, particularly at the school level, by establishing a network of open schools to further strengthen the open schooling movement in country with the support from the Government of India and the State Governments. As envisaged in the XI Plan by the Planning Commission, NIOS, therefore, has to take a lead role in setting up of the State Open Schools in all the states.

8.There is a need to bring a happy balance between expectations from the institution and the actual contribution made by it to the society. Our endeavor would be to make the student a good human being and a useful member of the society. In this context, providing suitable vocational education and training (VET) to specific target groups who want to enter the world of work is our priority agenda to be implemented mainly through PPP mode. Societal expectations do not have any limits; however one must strive to make concerted efforts to meet these expectations as far as possible. The ODL system, like that of NIOS, therefore, has to work within the parameters of expectations and contributing substantially to the nation's endeavours for universalisation of school education. Let us join hands for providing appropriate responses to the challenges of education.

Brief Profile

Dr.Chandra B. Sharma, PhD (Hull, UK)

Chairman, National Institute for Open Schooling,NOIDA, India

Professor of Education, School of Education, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi - 110068

E-mail : cbsharma01@gmail.com, cbsharma@nios.ac.in

Dr. Chandra B. Sharma the Chairman is Professor of Education on deputation from the School of Education, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi. He has recently been on a three member committee constituted by the Government of India to draft the Distance Education Council of India Bill 2015, likely to be placed before the Parliament . This Act will set the future of distance education in India. He has been the Director of the Distance Education Programme of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (DEP-SSA) an MHRD-IGNOU project. DEP-SSA was a national project of the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) Government of India. The project assisted all Indian states in preparing master trainers for quality improvement of Elementary education. He has served the open distance learning (ODL) system for nearly two and half decades. Before joining the ODL he taught at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) New Delhi. He has been on various statutory bodies (Academic Council, Board of Management/Board of Governors etc. and also the Visitor's (President of India) nominee on selection committee) of various ODL as well as traditional institutions. He has been nominated by IGNOU as well as invited to national committees on various areas like 11th Plan, Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan (SSA), Rastriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyaan (RMSA), National Mission on Education - Information and Communication Technologies (NME-ICT), UGC Visiting Committees, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) teams, National Council for Teacher Education planning as well as visiting teams, DEC-UGC-AICTE inspection committees etc. He has written as well as taken part in many national as well as state level educational planning discussion and brainstorming. He has also been invited to be Visiting Professor at various universities, besides been invited by international agencies like the World Bank for research studies.

As an academic he has planned, designed and developed curriculum of many courses and been on the curriculum design committees (CDC) of various central as well as state universities. He also designed and developed a series of audio programmes for in-service trainee teachers of IGNOU. The audio programs cover the complete primary teacher education curriculum. As Program Coordinator for the Research Degree programme of the School of Education, IGNOU he has been involved and instrumental in the development of the first research degree course of IGNOU. He was with the Kota Open University (Rajasthan) where he contributed to the development and design of various courses. He had initiated newsletter of the university and was instrumental in starting many other activities.

Dr. Sharma obtained his doctoral degree in Education from the Hull University (UK) where he went on a Commonwealth Scholarship. The title of his Ph.D. thesis was Multimedia approaches to teaching literature. Dr. Sharma had obtained his M.Phil. from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on Language Teaching through Television. Dr. Sharma has been interested and has developed keen expertise in the use of media and technologies in providing education through distance mode.

In the recent past Dr. Sharma has been working on developing better coordination and networking in South Asia, with the goal of developing mechanisms to augment interaction amongst various institutions and individuals. Prof. Sharma was invited by the Linnaeus University (Sweden) to deliver the key note address on Entrepreneurship and Education in India, and half a dozen other Nordic Universities to lecture on educational collaboration with Indian universities during March-April 2014.

Dr. Sharma has published a number of articles in Indian and foreign journals and has presented papers in conferences in various countries. He was offered Korean Govt. Scholarship to research at the University of Seoul during 2003-04.

He has been involved in editing of various journals including Associate Editor of the Staff and Educational Development International (SEDI), a referred journal published from New Delhi, and been on the Editorial Board of many journals on education including the Indian Journal of Open Learning (IJOL) published by IGNOU. He has edited many courses offered by state as well as national level ODL institutions. He has also extensively lectured through the EduSat and Interactive Radio.