The correspondence institutions at school level opened up opportunities for their own time education – a student can learn on his/her own convenient time to self-paced learning. However, all these correspondence institutions at different levels offer the same courses which are offered in the formal system, thereby having the same rigidities with regard to admissions and examinations and use of only one medium, i.e. print. Though, such correspondence education was able to transcend the barriers of space and time, it was not able to serve large numbers with higher quality of education and diversity of courses that are relevant to individual and societal needs. This led to the emergence of the open schooling:
The features of Open Learning in National Open School guarantee the following:
1. Easy access to education:
Does not suffer from rigidity of formal system of education or that of correspondence courses.
2. Expanded base of education:
There is no upper age limit for admissions. The learners have freedom to decide what to learn, when to learn and how to learn. It allows learner to learn at his own speed and time. Fee concession is offered as an incentive to the marginalized groups i.e. women, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, ex-servicemen and handicapped. It offers programmmes in Hindi, English and Urdu as national media and various regional languages such as Marathi, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Gujrati etc. with a plan to gradually extend it to the remaining regional media. It allows credit accumulation in the examination system in which a maximum of 9 chances are provided over a period of 5 years and transfer of credits from other national boards. It is possible to take re-admission after five years.
3. Educational support:
Provide much needed educational support to the drop-outs who feel shy to re-enter the formal system and provides a bridge to re-enter the mainstream.
4. Opens new avenues:
Opens a new vista, to improve the quality of life for all the non-entrants at various levels who could not for any reason get the opportunity for formal schooling.
5. Provides facilities:
Provides facilities of education to the disadvantaged groups who had to give up education early.
6. Quality education:
Provides quality education to all through use of modern communication and information technologies.