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Open Polytechnic to collaborate with India’s National Institute of Open Schooling

Posted by Open Polytechnic on 4 February 2011

Leading distance education provider the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand has signed an agreement to work with one of the world’s largest education organisations the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) in India.

Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) the two organisations will explore ways of working together in open and distance learning up to pre-degree level and in vocational education and training.

The MoU follows a formal education agreement signed by the New Zealand and Indian Governments in April to strengthen and broaden education engagement between the two countries. 

NIOS offers secondary school and vocational programmes for cumulative enrolments of 1.9 million students with a focus on increasing education access and inclusion.

It's main student groups include young people unable to attend formal schooling and people without school qualifications.

The Delhi-based organisation operates through open and distance learning and a nation-wide network of over 4,000 accredited institutions.

Open Polytechnic Chief Executive Dr Caroline Seelig says the two institutions share a common philosophy of open and distance learning.

“In our different ways we are both committed to giving more people the opportunity to access education and skills and especially those who might not otherwise be able to study.”

Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Doug Standring says the Open Polytechnic is focusing on international partnerships where it can add value as an open learning institution that specialises in technical and vocational education.

“There’s a huge need for this type of education and open learning is really the only way to meet the scale of demand.

“At the same time, we can learn a lot working with a partner like NIOS because they are addressing very complex challenges.”

The MoU between the two government-owned institutions was signed by Dr Seelig and NIOS Chairman Dr S. S. Jena at the Annual General Body meeting of the Commonwealth Open Schooling Association in Delhi.

The collaboration is supported and facilitated by the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s International Division and the Vancouver-based Commonwealth of Learning (CoL). 

Dr Seelig is an Honorary Advisor for CoL and recently delivered a key note speech in India at the 6th Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning on the role open and distance learning has to play in skills development internationally. 

The collaboration brings together two education providers with longstanding experience in improving access to education and skills through distance education. The Open Polytechnic has been delivering distance education services since 1946 to mainly adult workers balancing family and career demands, while NIOS is the largest open schooling system in the world.


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