There is a good news for the students who had to drop out of school at a young age and for those who are not in a position to attend regular school for some reason, but want to pursue their studies further. Maharashtra state government has decided to start open schooling board from the next academic session with a vision to provide quality and skill-based education to students right up till Class 12.
Maharashtra State Open School (MSOS) – the most ambitious of all the projects of Maharashtra government, aims to benefit lakhs of school students. The Maharashtra State Open Schooling Board for standards V, VIII, X and XII will function on the lines of the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). The open schooling board will function as part of the state education board and will later become autonomous depending on how self-sufficient it becomes.
For this effect, a Government Resolution has been issued. As per the GR, the governing council of the board will consist of 22 members with officials from various departments of education, including two experts from universities and five independent experts. The government will recommend names of the independent experts whose term will be for three years.
MSOS will ensure a “drastic reduction in school drop outs”. It gives an option to continue education as per the convenience of the students. Details about the local centres in districts are expected to be declared in a few months. The process of forming a governing council for the new board will start now that the GR is out. The plan is to make the board operational from the 2018-19 academic year.
Beside general academic courses, stress will be on vocational education in the separately designed curricula, which will be readied keeping in mind that the students do not have access to formal schooling. In Maharashtra, about 5 lakh students, between Class I and Class X, drop out of school, while the number of students who appear for the Class X exam externally is around 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh.
The study material will be prepared keeping in mind the self-study system. Doordarshan and All India Radio may be asked to provide one hour to educate the students. Subjects based on national skill qualification framework will also be made available under the curriculum.
Promising academic parity with those attending regular schools, the credentials of MSOS’ future students will be at par. Based on the academic certificates issued from MSOS, students can get admission in the next higher class even at a traditional school or college.
While the State government’s objective of starting Open Schooling is to curb the dropout rate, many educationists warned that the Education Department should ensure that the Schools do not misuse the system. Many expressed concerns saying that it may promote schools to sideline differently abled and academically weak students.