Those who had to drop out of school at a young age have now got another chance to complete their schooling. The state cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to set up Maharashtra State Open Schooling Board on the lines of the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) for school drop outs.
According to Education Minister Vinod Tawde, the move will help bring all those who dropped out of school into the mainstream education and also help reduce the number of students failing in board exams.
Currently, students who are unable to continue schooling have to drop out while those who fail in exams can appear for their board exam only as private candidates.
There are 50,000 to 80,000 such students appearing for the board exams every year. These students cannot attend regular schools. They have to instead rely on self study or join expensive coaching classes. The pass percentage of these candidates is low every year.
According to Tawde, dropouts generally take up odd jobs at a young age to earn their livelihood. He said: “Education is the fundamental right of people from all walks of life. However, a majority of people cannot afford it due to a lot of factors. The State Open Schooling Board will allow everyone from adult labourers to housewives and other dropouts to take up mainstream education again. The Open Schooling Board will function under and as one of the
wings of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE). However, a separate curriculum will be designed for the open school. Vocational courses that will help focused on skill development will be offered under the board.”
The State Open Schooling Board will be authorised to conduct examinations for class V, VII, X and XII. A regulatory board will be formed under the chairmanship of State Education Commissioner to look after the implementation of the project, including officials form various government departments and five experts in the field of open schooling.
The state government has been mulling over the idea of setting up its own open schooling board for quite sometime. Congress leader and former education minister Rajendra Darda had mulled over the idea in 2011.
However, no concrete action was taken towards initiating the project till date. Finally, on Tuesday, the state government approved the project.