Maharashtra Government launches Open SSC Board for Home-Schooling

The Maharashtra Government introduces the Open SSC Board that allows home-schooled children to appear for examinations conducted by it. Under this provision, candidates can appear for classes 5, 8 and 10 examinations. Get complete details from this article.

Education and school(ing) go hand in hand; well almost. The formal education, of a child, begins with admission into a pre-KG class of a reputed school. Most parents look for a school that offers more than basic academics. The demand may be for a school with after-school day-care facility or for a school with excellent sports infrastructure and training. Many parents lay stress on academics alone and aim to get their child admitted into an institution that offers IIT coaching.

Schools continue to play a major role in most people's lives. They are institutions where children begin formal education, learn to tackle different aspects of life and gain confidence. As they interact with teachers and other children, they improve their social skills. They also gain knowledge and hone their talents. Therefore, schools strike to us as something of an inclusive package, that is vital for every child's complete developmental.

Given that schools provide all this and more, would it then be right to say that they are indispensable? Can we do without schools? The answer to that is, we can. Lately, parents have taken to 'home-schooling' their children. In India, it is a relatively new concept, but it has caught on. The Government of Maharashtra has taken cognisance of this changing trend and implemented changes in its Board of Education, by introducing an Open SSC Board for Home-schooling.

What is home-schooling?

Home-schooling is a concept where parents make a conscious decision to either not send their child to a formal school or remove a child from a formal school environment and teach them at home. Some parents continue to send their child to school but maintain a more home-centric control over their education.

Considering the way education is viewed in India, the idea of home-schooling does seem a bit scary. But, the fact of the matter is that schooling is lost, as the focus now is more on securing better grades. It is all about cramming study material, without perhaps understanding concepts.

Shattering the myths about home-schooling

Home-schooling, on the other hand, can be more focused. It is more child-oriented and there's more scope to tune it to suit a child's interests and aptitude. There are a lot of myths surrounding home-schooling. Some people believe that nothing can replace formal schooling, while others believe home-schooling is a westernised concept that won't work in India. There are also people who think that such kind of education can only benefit children with special needs. Those against this concept argue that it can hold back a child's mental, emotional and social development.

The truth is that home-schooled children do as well in life, as those who went to proper schools. You just need to Google, and you'll be amazed at the number of famous people who were home-schooled and have turned out just fine.

Home-schooled children are reclusive and lack social skills

Home-schooled children are neither withdrawn nor less social. They portray normal behaviour and can, in fact, be more conversant about subjects than their counterparts. The environment of schools is curriculum based and rather restrictive, while home-schooling has no set boundaries. A home-schooled child is exposed to various elements that enhance growth.

Home-schooling is for special children

There is a myth that children with learning disabilities and special needs are the ones who require home-schooling. There is no truth in that. Any child can benefit from being home-schooled. It is a matter of choice and not need.

Parents cannot substitute as teachers

Parents can be as motivated as any teacher. When parents make a conscious decision to home-tutor their child, they know the journey's not going to be easy. And yet they take it upon themselves, to do the job.

Thankfully, there is enough material available online, to help them get started. There are videos that can serve as lessons. It's just a question of how dedicated the parent really is.

The advantage here is that the parent and child can together set the pace for learning. There are no stringent deadlines within which a chapter or syllabus must be completed. Parents also have a better understanding of their child and hence are more patient with them. For them it's not a job with a pay packet at the end of the month; it is a lot more than that.

Home-schooled children are deprived of higher education

The home-schooling approach is emulated from the western world. It is practised in many countries, where the education system adapts and caters to it, allowing home-schooled students to effortlessly integrate into the mainstream education system.

With the introduction of the Open SSC Board for Home-schooling, the Maharashtra Government has pioneered a change in our education system. This will allow home-schooled students to appear and qualify the State Board SSC examination, a pre-requisite for University admission.

Home-schooling policy changes in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra Government launched the Open SSC Board on 10-01-2019, an initiative that supports students to continue schooling from home. The resolution will allow those who might not be able to attend regular school, to complete basic education at the senior school level. The new model is designed to encourage and empower young artists and athletes to complete their education despite their schedules that keep them occupied with practice, events and tournaments. The programme is also applicable to the physically challenged.

Eligibility for the Open SCC

Under the newly introduced Open SSC, the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Examination will conduct exams for class 5, 8, 10 and 12.

  • Class 5 examination – minimum age 10 years
  • Class 8 examination – minimum age 13 years
  • Class 10 (SSC) examination – minimum age 15 years

Schedule for the Open SSC

According to the latest update from the Maharashtra Government, the state will schedule the examinations twice a year, in June and December.

Right to Education Act, 2009

The Right to Education Act, 2009 declares that it is the state's responsibility to provide compulsory and free education, to those under 14 years of age. Bearing this in mind, it is mandatory for children below the age of 14 years to enrol with the Board's study centre, as full-time students.

Candidates with special needs

Under the scheme, candidates with special needs can opt for the subject concession. This allows them an option to select any 4 subjects from those on the list. Further, they are also eligible to opt for a single language, instead of 2 languages, mandatory for others.

Highlights of Open SSC

The application process for the current year is presently open until the end of January 2019 (31-01-2019). However, the State Board Chairperson is said to have stated that the deadline may be extended.

Students who register in January 2019 will be eligible to appear for the examination scheduled in six months.

The Open SSC initiative introduced in Maharashtra will be on par with the examinations conducted by the other Boards, that is CBSE and ICSE.

Registration process

To register for the Open SSC, students need to apply with a copy of valid identity proof and a School Transfer Certificate (TC).

Share this information with others, spread the word around, so more parents become aware of this option.

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