Open learning or open schooling serves as a source of education for the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors of society. The open schooling provides benefit to the physically and mentally handicapped, the female population, and school dropouts. It is also helpful for the residents of rural areas and remote regions. Students who pursue careers, also prefer open schooling, which requires them to devote more time than what the harsh formal school systems with its time-bound structure and attendance compulsions can permit. Students who wish to choose specific combinations of subjects, which may not be possible under the formal school system, also turn to open schools. The open schooling system also contributes to the cause of adult literacy.
The Open Schooling System involves the physical separation of the school-level learner from the teacher. The use of unconventional teaching methodologies, and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) is to bridge the separation and provide the education and training to the students. Open Schooling is not called open or distance schooling for a reason. Open Schooling may follow different patterns. The most common scenario is that the learners can study specially designed open learning materials on their own. They can study at home, in their workplace or wherever it is convenient for them. Through this convenience, they meet together with a facilitator on a regular basis.
Open Schooling for Youth and Adults
The “open” in Open Schooling refers to the openness of the system – seldom are their rules dictating student ages, prerequisites, the content of courses to be taken or the number of courses in which students must enrol. For example, youth that missed out the chance of schooling in their childhood can enrol in the desired courses. It will provide them with the equivalence of secondary education without their having to endure the embarrassment of being in classrooms with children much younger than themselves.
- Young mothers can take secondary level education through open schooling at their home, and attending tutorials only when necessary and their responsibilities permit.
- Working adults can enrol in one or two desirable courses at a time, and study whenever their personal and work commitments permit.
- Young adults can acquire skill training coupled with academic subjects through open schooling while self-employed or working as non-skilled labour.
Role of Open and Distance Learning System
The Open and Distance Learning System is a new example with some elements such as:
- Learning methodology is shifting from the classroom to anywhere.
- From the teacher-centric system to the learner-centric.
- From teacher as an instructor to the teacher as a facilitator.
- The learning system is shifting from mainly oral instructions to technology-aided instruction.
- It shifts from fixed time to anytime learning.
- The focus of learning is shifted from “you learn what we offer” to “we offer what you want to learn”.
- From education as the one-time activity to education as a lifelong activity.
Open Schooling Curriculum
After various research done by National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), studying and analyzing the opinions of students of the open school, it shows that the students find the formalities to be done while taking admission similarly suitable and satisfactory. The students are quite satisfied with the curriculum of the open school. The access of open school is hence acceptable among the students. It is proved that open schooling is suitable for the progress of the students. Students are also quite satisfied with the text material that provide in the open schooling system.
Successful access to the course to the ultimate need of students is thus proved here as it is helpful in enhancing their vocational skills. Observing the usefulness of the curriculum of open schooling in vocational front, students are in the opinion of adding vocational training in the curriculum. Open schooling would definitely be helpful in lifting up their vocational skill. Thus the open school is proved to be an effective access of education and approach for success for its students. Finally, in various researches, it is also found that the students are getting benefit from face to face contact programme.