Union education minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, had on August 14, 2021 launched the Virtual Open School of National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). The school today already has 2.1 lakh certified learners. Moreover, the first secondary and senior secondary batch graduated after writing their online Board exams this year.
Saroj Sharma, chairperson, NIOS said: “NIOS is running successfully the first virtual open school since last year. All academic subjects offered to NIOS learners so far are also offered to learners of virtual schools and flexibility in choice of subjects is available. Advanced virtual learning takes place by providing virtual classrooms. Virtual labs are being used. Recorded sessions and videos are available as per requirement for all courses. Live and interactive sessions are also conducted. NIOS’ virtual schools’ cumulative enrollment stands at 25 lakh at present.”
NIOS in a statement said: “With reference to certain media reports regarding the claims of India’s first virtual school being launched today. It is informed that the first virtual school of the country was already launched by NIOS in August 2021.”
In order to evaluate students’ progress, there are assessments, exams, and Tutor Marked Assignments (TMA). According to Sharma, in the first session of NIOS Virtual Open School in the academic year 2021, 2.18 lakh assignments/ TMAs were uploaded by the learners. In the recently completed academic session 4.46 lakh assignments/ TMAs have been uploaded by the NIOS learners.
NIOS has also pioneered in providing a digital library, launched on March 8, 2022, equipped with more than 12,000 e-resources (75 different academic subjects), 4000 periodicals including magazines and Journals so far and has attracted 68,000 visitors in the short time span of five months.
At present there are more than 7,000 study centres affiliated with NIOS which are providing academic support and more than 1,500 study centres providing support in skill-based vocational courses to the learners of NIOS Virtual Open School.
NIOS also introduced new courses last year which include entrepreneurship, military history, Malayalam and Sindhi languages, Hindustani and Carnatic music, five courses in Kannada medium, five (like business studies, mathematics and data entry operations) in Assamese and five (like science and technology, social science, accountancy) in Punjabi medium.