Understanding the Profile, Motivations and Current Status of Academic Graduates through Open and Distance Schooling in India


  • Jyotsna Jha Centre for Budget and Policy Studies
  • Neha Ghatak Centre for Budget and Policy Studies
  • Shreekanth Mahendiran Centre for Budget and Policy Studies




Education, Gender, Open and Distance learning, Distance Education, India, NIOS, career trajectory, tracer, labour market, higher education, inequality


In India, Open and Distance Learning for secondary and higher secondary level is mainly provided by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). Secondary education in India pertains to class 9 and 10 catering to the age group of 15 to 16. Similarly, higher secondary education refers to class 11 and 12 catering to the age group of 17 to 18. Based on research supported by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) this paper discusses the results from a telephone survey of close to 1000 learners who were enrolled with NIOS and completed secondary and higher secondary education during 2008-2012 in selected states. It emerged that nearly 81 per cent of respondents were gainfully employed and NIOS helped them look for better jobs, widen their job search, and gain more stable (permanent) and secure (government) jobs. NIOS has successfully enabled a good proportion of learners to continue with their higher education. Flexibility offered by open schooling is the main motivation to join NIOS; individuals facing various constraints in accessing regular secondary education have opted for this option. It appears that two different kinds of learners join NIOS at these two levels; the secondary level seems to have a bigger representation from lower socio-economic strata. The role of open schooling in reducing the gender gap at secondary level of schooling remains mixed.

Author Biographies

Jyotsna Jha, Centre for Budget and Policy Studies

Dr. Jyotsna Jha heads Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS), located in Bangalore, India. Trained as an economist, she has more than two decades of experience of working on education, gender and other development related issues. She has worked as an adviser to Social Transformation Programmes Division at Commonwealth Secretariat in London. 

Neha Ghatak, Centre for Budget and Policy Studies

Neha Ghatak is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS). With nearly 6 years of experience at the Centre, she has been engaged with research studies on gender and education. She has a master’s degree in sociology from Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University.  

Shreekanth Mahendiran, Centre for Budget and Policy Studies

Shreekanth Mahendiran is a Research Advisory at the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS). He primarily focuses on education, gender and decentralization using quantitative methods. Before joining CBPS, he worked in Centre for Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. Shreekanth has a Masters in Economics from Madras School of Economics, Anna University.


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How to Cite

Jha, J., Ghatak, N., & Mahendiran, S. (2017). Understanding the Profile, Motivations and Current Status of Academic Graduates through Open and Distance Schooling in India. Journal of Learning for Development, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.56059/jl4d.v4i2.202



Research Articles
Received 2017-03-10
Accepted 2017-05-26
Published 2017-06-13