Self Directed Learning Foundation

-- Learning is Intrinsic, Education is Forced --


NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling), governed by MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development), Govt. of India, was established in 1989. Its the largest open schooling system in the world offering variety of courses up to pre-degree level. NIOS reaches out to learners through a network of 23 regional centres and more than 7400 study centres, spread all across the country.

NIOS imparts education through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode using a mix of self-instructional print material, Personal Contact Programme (PCP) at accredited study centres, e-learning resources like online course material, Radio Broadcast, Television programmes through satellite channels.

The main aim of NIOS is to 'reach the unreached'. It follows the principle of freedom to learn, i.e., there is no restriction of time, place and pace of learning. NIOS is one of the three National Boards in India; the other two boards are CBSE and ICSE.

In this website page, we have tried to compile important aspects of NIOS. We have focused more on Secondary course (equivalent to 10th standard) of NIOS. To know more about NIOS and wide variety of courses offered by them, visit their official website

Eligibility for 10th Standard (Secondary Course)

  1. Minimum 14 years of age. (As on 31st July XXXX for reference, where XXXX is the year of admission for NIOS).
  2. Passed 8th Class.
  3. If a candidate has not learned upto 8th Standard in School, a self certificate stating that "I have studied and able to pursue the secondary course" is needed. Under this provision homeschoolers, unschoolers, and school drop outs who never went to school or who did not studied up to 8th standard in school becomes eligible for enrolment/admission to the Secondary Course.

Exam Structure for 10th Standard (Secondary Course)

  1. NIOS 10th Standard exam consists of 5 Subjects.
  2. NIOS offers a wide variety of 32 Subjects. These subjects are grouped in 2 parts. Group A consists of 17 Languages. Group B consists of 15 Subjects.
  3. From Group A, Minimum 1 Language has to be chosen. Maximum 2 Languages can be opted from Group A.
  4. From Group B, Student can choose 4 Subjects (3 Subjects, in case student has opted for 2 Languages).
  5. A Student has option to take additional 2 Subjects.
  6. NIOS offers Secondary course in English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Odia, Telugu, Gujarati, Tamil, and Malayalam mediums.
  7. Examinations are held twice in a year. Normally in the month of April/May and October/November. Student has to pass the exam within 5 years from enrolment.

Refer this Document to know more about Subjects offered by NIOS at Secondary (10th Standard) and Higher Secondary (12th Standard) course.

Procedure for Enrolment/Admission of 10th Standard (Secondary Course)

  1. Online Registration is Compulsory. Students/Parents can directly do the registration from their home through NIOS website. If needed, they can take the assistance of Study Centre/Regional Centre.
  2. Documents Required. Before online registration, be ready with scanned documents to be uploaded, related to following aspects:- Identity Proof, Age Proof, Residence Proof, Latest passport size colour photograph, Students signature (preferably in Black ink), Previous Qualification Proof (if any). Each of these scanned images must be less than 1 Mb in size. Be ready with a valid Mobile No. and E-mail Id for communication. Only online payment is accepted. So be ready with your Debit Card/Net Banking details.
  3. Selection of Subjects, Select your desired subjects, as per the guidelines cited above in Exam Structure.
  4. Selection of Accredited Institute (AI). Select appropriate Study Centre. You can choose maximum 3 preferences. Its advisable to visit/contact these AI, to know more about their actual status, support, and facilities, before doing online registration. To locate AI nearby your area, visit this link.

Please note that, student cannot register for Secondary Course (10th Standard) before completion of 14 years. Further, there is no compulsion to pass OBE Exams. However, if needed, course material of OBE levels can be used as reference.

For more details, kindly visit NIOS FAQ on Student Portal, and Academic Prospectus 2019-20. To understand steps in online registration, visit this Flowchart.

Validity of Secondary Course (10th Standard) and Senior Secondary Course (12th Standard)

Secondary Course (10th Standard) and Senior Secondary Course (12th Standard) certificates from NIOS are 100% valid for higher education throughout India. They have the same recognition as certificates issued by other boards in India. NIOS is vested with the authority to conduct public examinations at secondary and senior secondary level vide Govt. of India's resolution dated 14th September 1990, published in Gazette of India dated 20th October 1990. For more details, visit this Gazette Notification, and Equivalence Notifications.

Although, 10th Standard (Secondary course) certificate of NIOS is recognized by all other boards in India, for admission to their board in 11th Standard, some of these boards have specified certain conditions. For e.g., ICSE Board has a condition that, all subjects should be cleared in one sitting, with English and one more Language. Maharashtra State Board has a condition that, English Language should be amongst the chosen 5 subjects. For more details, refer this Document.

Advantages of NIOS 10th Standard (Secondary Course)

  1. Availability & Flexibility of Subjects. No other boards in India can match with the flexibility, to the extent offered by NIOS. They really provide "Freedom to Learn" when it comes to selection of subjects, as per the interest of student and the higher education they intend to pursue. For e.g., a student interested in pursuing higher education in commerce field can skip Mathematics & Science and instead opt for subjects like Accountancy, Economics, and Business Studies. No compulsion of Mathematics and Science subject. Its a boon for students who are not interested to pursue higher education in Science stream. Failure in English, Mathematics and Science is one of the major reasons for school drop outs in India. Most of the other boards have 7 subjects, in contrast, there are only 5 subjects in NIOS. So comparatively, students require less time for study.
  2. NIOS has uploaded course material of all their courses on their website. Printed course material is supplied to enrolled student, free of cost. Few private publishers like Neeraj Publications and Top's Publications provide Guide Books based on NIOS curriculum, which are available on online stores like and
  3. NIOS Youtube Channel has several useful videos related to their course content. Private coaching classes for NIOS are available in major cities of India.
  4. On Demand Examination facility is also provided by NIOS. No need to wait for examinations conducted twice in a year. However, this facility is provided only for selected subjects and at selected places. For more details visit NIOS website.
  5. Excellent E-Governance mechanisms. Almost all administrative formalities are provided through a well managed e-governance mechanism. Students can call on a dedicated Toll Free Number to resolve their queries. Students can also resolve their queries through online chat facility. They can even send queries related to concerned subject on email, which are replied by expert teachers.


NIOS was established with an objective of "inclusive education". It was initiated mainly for "School drop outs". However, over the years, various important provisions were added to it, which truly resemble the current era and are more scientific, flexible and learner friendly in nature. In that sense, all other boards in India are miles away.

Yet, despite of all these wonderful features, NIOS has no Brand value. Why? Because majority of its student strength still continues to be school drop outs or economically poor students. And surprisingly, NIOS doesn't seem to be taking sufficient efforts to remove this "taboo". As a result, a board which is supposed to be on the "top" of brands is unfortunately at the "lowest".

Perhaps, RTE act has become a hurdle for NIOS to promote its wonderful features to citizens of India. It cannot openly promote that, any child who has not attended school, even for a single day, can directly enrol for their 10th Standard (Secondary) course. They cannot openly promote that, look parents, if you are unsatisfied with Govt/Private schools in your residence area, we are your best alternatives to provide quality education at almost negligible cost.

Thanks to homeschoolers and unschoolers in India. They took the route of NIOS, to join academic mainstream. Obviously, they had to (and they still have to) face the "taboo". They took efforts to spread awareness about NIOS and to remove misunderstandings associated with it. As a result, slowly, but surely, NIOS is growing with a qualitative student base.

Hopefully, this website page will play an important role to spread wonderful features of NIOS, so that maximum students from India can take benefit of flexible, learner friendly, quality education at almost negligible cost.

© Copyright 2020    Mr. Mahesh Angadi