The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Sushmita Mitra

Gender and Open Schooling in India

Sushmita Mitra
National Institute of Open Schooling, New Delhi

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     Last modified: October 25, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/01/2006 2:30 PM in NT Portland B
     (View Schedule)

Access to education has been recognized as a basic human right to bring competence leading to higher productivity, empowerment of the people and national development. India had been trying to extend the reach of education to larger sections of its society through a multi approach strategy. The Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system at school levels is considered as one of the ways to provide educational opportunities to everybody.
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is an autonomous organization under the Department of Education, Govt. of India. Established to provide school educational opportunities to all who cannot and do not go to school, it is the largest Open school in the world. Although, enrolment of girls in secondary classes per 1000 boys increased from 16 to 70 since 1950-1951, the gender gap in traditional school system remains a matter of concern. One of the key objectives of NIOS has been overcoming this gap.
This paper highlights the gender profile of learners who enrol in NIOS from the different states of India and examines gender equality with respect to enrolment at the secondary level. Since one of the unique features in NIOS is the provision for 'choice of subjects', the paper also highlights the distribution of females in different major subjects. An examination of these gender distribution trends in NIOS centers across the country leads towards answering questions of NIOS effectiveness in addressing this issue.The analysis would assist in determining future course of action so as to increase access to school education.

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