The Informal Education Centre is in the final stages of preparing an integrated syllabus for the students not able to complete schooling. The open education system will allow students to attend school on a part-time basis, thereby accommodating even the students who hold regular jobs. Among the subjects taught, the students will have the option of attending the classes of only ‘core’ subjects while studying ‘non-core’ subjects on their own. The students who pass the two-year course will be eligible for admission into class IX. Most importantly, the programme will be completely free.
This programme, like so many before it, sounds like a great idea on paper. The hard part is to see to its proper implementation once it gets underway. If the open education programme turns out to be even half as effective as is being touted, it will come as a boon to thousands of students forced to give up their education because of poverty, conflict or some other factor. The students who have been out of school for long are reluctant to enrol in regular classes either out of shame, guilt or the fear of losing their regular jobs. They might also lack the resources — which might have been the very reason they gave up on education in the first place. Part-time, free education is a win-win solution both for the enrolling students who realise the real value of education despite all the hurdles in pursuing it and the country desperately short in qualified manpower.