International Conference on Promotion of Open Schooling, GOA-III , 23-25 Jan., 2005 (GOA-III)

Rationale

The emergence of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system has been a phenomenal evolution in the history of educational Development towards the later half of the twentieth century. While the conventional system continues to be the mainstream of educational transaction, it has its own limitations with regard to expansion, access, equity and cost effectiveness.

The revolution brought about by the growth in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has greatly facilitated the expansion of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system and permitted adopting a flexible, constructivist, learner friendly and multi-perspective approach to teaching learning process.

The Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system is a new paradigm with some elements of shift such as :

  • From classroom to anywhere,
  • From teacher centric to learner centric,
  • From teacher as an instructor to teacher as a facilitator,
  • From mainly oral instructions to technology aived instruction,
  • From fixed time to anytime learning instruction,
  • From "you learn what we offer" to "we offer what you want to learn".
  • From education as one time activity to education as life long activity.

The Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system, during the course of its journey through few decades in India, has seen many stages of Development in teaching and learning moves/ material and in its delivery mechanisms against the background of unprecedented Development of Communication Technology vis-à-vis shrinking resources of education.

In fact, the ODL system has been gaining wide popularity over the years in India and across the globe since it provides an opportunity to all those who are unable to pursue learning through traditional system.

The ODL system aims to:

  • provide an opportunity for education for all aspirants including those in service, women, adults, physically and mentally challenged, staging in remote areas etc.,
  • allow self paced learning,
  • provide innovative and flexible education,
  • provide learning material which are self-explanatory, user-friendly and updated in content.
  • provide opportunity for a number of diverse courses-professional, technical, vocational and general,
  • cater to the needs of certification, education, knowledge, skill up gradation etc.,
  • provide regular counseling and other appropriate learning support through networks of Study Centres, and
  • in corporate new technology, satellite communication, networking, internet, e-mail for access to learners.

In other words, ODL democratizes education, offers need based academic programmes, promotes and takes quality education to people's doorsteps. It sets and maintains standards clubbed with relaxed entry and exit regulations besides providing flexibility in selection of courses, place of study and examinations with full freedom to pursue the courses at a self-determined pace. Demographic, socio- economic, technology dominated approach and cost and cost-effectiveness are the reasons for the fast growth and success of the system.

The present trend suggests a vast scope for capacity enhancement of the ODL system. It would thus require additional infrastructure and ICT support. The greater use of new ICT is supportive of the paradigm shifts in educati9on sector. Learners of the future will not be passive recipients but active processors of information and consumers of varied knowledge products paradigm shifts in education has implication on learner's autonomy- it is becoming not only possible but also a passion for today's learners to select Courses and Curriculum from anywhere in the world.

The Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system has been the key dispersal agent in the movement towards a post-industrial society characterized by globalization ODL will be the mainstream of education in not too Distance future.

School education is an important segment of the total educational system contributing significantly to the individual as well as national Development processes. So far, formal schooling has been playing a major role in educating the children in the age group 6- 18years. However, due to rigidities of the formal schooling system, quite a large number of school-going -age children drop out at various stages of school education. Moreover, Due to socio economic and other reasons, many children belonging to disadvantaged sections of the society are not able to take advantage of the formal schooling system. Today the major challenges that India faces in the educational arena are:

  • the challenge of number
  • the challenge of credibility, and
  • the challenge of quality.

The major concerns are to :-

  • meet the educational needs of Disadvantaged children,
  • provide wider choice of educational programmes to learners,
  • provide a 'safety net' to school Drop-outs so that they do not lapse into illiteracy and
  • Provide education to those who cannot attend conventional school for a variety of socio-economic reasons, as well as to those who missed opportunities to complete school and Developmental education.

In search of solutions to the emerging educational concerns, the ODL system at school level has been adopted which gave rise to the evolution of Open Schooling system in the country.

Open Schooling Scenario

In India, Open Schooling programmes are being offered by the National Institute of Open School and eleven State Open Schools (Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir). Other states viz, Assam, Bihar , Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal are in the process ofssetting up state Open Schools (SOSs.)

Although the NIOS acts as an apex National Resource Organisation in Open Schooling along with its programme Delivery role, it cannot increase its enrolment beyond certain limits. The major responsibility of offering Open Schooling courses has to be assumed by SoSs as the learners would generally like to study and appear in examinations through regional mediums.

NIOS with current enrolment of about 1.3 million learners has emerged as the largest Open Schooling system in the world. However, the picturer at the level of state Open Schools (SOSs) is not rosy. The total current enrolment in IO SOSs is about 0.5 million only. It may be mentioned that about 30.5 million children in the age group 6-14 years and about 65.00 million youth the age group 14-18 years are out of school. Under this circumstance, both formal schooling and open schooling system of education are required to meet the challenge of education for all (EFA).

At the international level, some Developing countries in Asia and Africa have started open schooling programmes. However, several Developing countries facing similar challenges of providing educational opportunities to all have not so far introduced such system of open schooling.

NIOS has been organizing advocacy programmes for educational planners and administrators of some Asian and African countries. NIOS has helped some of the countries in formulating project Designs for setting up Open Schools in their respective countries. There is a need to discuss frequently at national as well as international level Level the issues related to promotion of open schooling.

Participants

  • Reputed Educationists.
  • Educational planners and administrators from States of India
  • International Experts.
  • Representatives from apex institutions within and outside India.
  • Representatives from COL.

Themes of the Conference

The themes of the conference are as under:

  • Status of Open Schooling in India and abroad.
  • Policies and programmes of Governments for promotion of open schooling.
  • Quality Assurance in Open Schooling System.
  • Vocational Education: Significance for Open Schooling.
  • Research in Open Schooling: Prospects and priority Areas.
  • ICT in Open Schooling.
  • Future approach to Open Schooling

Venue

CIDADE DE BEACH RESORT, Vainguinim, Beach Goa, India

Expected Outcomes

As the educational planners and administrators from India and abroad are the chief participants, it is expected that the cause of Open Schooling would receive a fillip. The need assessment studies would, it is expected, reveal the need for setting up state Open Schools.

Many State Open Schools in India have introduced Secondary Educational Courses. It is expected that these States would not only strengthen the base by introducing Open Basic Education (OBE) programme but would also provide further opportunities to those who wish to complete their Secondary education. In other words, learning opportunites beprovided right from the primary to the pre-Degree level through appropriate Open Schooling system.

Along with quantitative expansion qualitative improvement will be stressed upon. It is expected that Open Schools would Develop quality indicators and appraise their ownn system against such indicators.

It is expected that Deliberations on prospects of research may open up an important Dialogue towards initiatives in home grown research activities as well as cross country researches in open schooling leading to sustenance of quality in programmes in the participating countries.

Another important outcome would be the emergence of strategies for skill Development and promotion of entrepreneurship among learners through vocational education.

Another likely outcome is the emergence of viable recommendations for promotion and expansion of Open Schooling in India and abroad

Modus Operand

The conference would be a mix of presentations in plenary Sessions, panel and Open House Discussion and group sessions.

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