The task of achieving cent percent literacy has been a challenging one and government authorities know it better. To encourage participation of the children who do not have access to formal education, an Open School concept was initiated by CBSE in 1979. The open school project evolved and an independent organisation by the name National open School came into being in 1989. To day, the institution is one of the largest open school institutions in the world.

Need for Open Schools
Open schools and open universities are basically non-formal education institutions that impart the education and training to the students. Open schools are prominently to be found in rural areas, where school dropout rates are very high.

A large number of children in rural areas do not attend the schools for different reasons. Most of these children are found to help their family members in daily chores and in tilling the land. Their parents too are not willing to send their children to regular schools. It is for these children that open school facilities were provided.

Education System in Open Schools
Open schools offer a non-formal system of education, wherein the children are not required to attend the classes daily. At many places, NOS (National Open School) has recognized study centers, from where the students collect the study material and interact with their instructors. These study centers are sometimes located in government schools in the region. The study centers are classified as – Accredited Institutions, Accredited Vocational Institutions and Special Accredited Institutions for the Education of the Disadvantaged.

The student-teacher interactions in open schools are minimal and the students have to do a lot of self-study. There are many relaxations provided by the government. The fee structure is made affordable and the examinations system is very flexible. Examinations are held twice in a year; in April-May and October-November.

Contact Programmes
Also called as Personal Contact Programmes, they allow the student-educator exchange sessions on weekends and holidays. During contact programmes the teachers or instructors help the students in their course work. There are assignments given to the students, which are to be checked by the instructors.

Many social action groups and NGOs have been involved in the open school programmes and imparting education to the underprivileged children. A collective effort can make a lot of difference, if different agencies vow to eradicate illiteracy from the country.

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