The Supreme Court ordered the National Institute of Open Learning (NIOS) to set exam centers at a distance of 10 kilometers from accredited institutions to allow students to take the exam with certainty and ease. . A vacation bench of Justices SA Nazeer and PS Narasimha said a significant number of students using open education invariably come from rural areas.
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“Most of these students come from the poor strata of society, depend on unreliable public transport and, in all likelihood, are employed for subsistence. It is not difficult to imagine the consequences of the inaccessibility of the centers There is yet another factor: primary, secondary or upper secondary examinations invariably involve answering several papers spread over a period of time.
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“Failure to travel long distances for each exam will only result in students dropping out, which is the biggest challenge facing the country today. Interestingly, the new policy of Education, 2020, in Chapter 6, records the benefits effect of reducing the burden of distance to prevent school dropout through group walks, provision of bicycles, etc. for socially and educationally disadvantaged groups,” said the bench.
The higher court was hearing a plea filed by a NIOS-accredited institution seeking an instruction from NIOS to set up testing centers for open education students a reasonable distance from their study centers, called accredited institutions.
The prayer in the petition was for a direction at NIOS to develop a policy of distancing criteria while setting examination centers for examinations conducted by NIOS. The Supreme Court said it was the responsibility of NIOS to fix the exam centers in such a way as to allow students to take the exam with certainty and ease.
The bench said it was up to NIOS to go the extra mile rather than expecting students to travel long distances from villages and towns to take the exam. “We are aware that fixing exam centers is a sensitive duty involving security and continuous monitoring. We are also aware that integrity in the conduct of exams is as important as the education itself. Every measure must be taken to prevent cheating and copying, which are the antithesis of education.
“NIOS shall have the freedom to identify, accept or reject an application offering to be a testing center. While exercising this right, NIOS will also be mindful of its duty to provide accessibility to pedagogical certification by allowing students access to examination centers,” says the bench.
The high court said that when arranging test centers, NIOS will be free to consider the credibility of the institution proposing to be a test center and any other factors necessary to ensure the review integrity, including law and order.
“NIOS should develop and implement criteria regarding the location of examination centers that would be accessible from accredited institutions with which candidates are connected. “NIOS will endeavor to locate examination centers, at a distance of 10 kilometers from the accredited institutions with which they are connected,” the bench said. did he declare.
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