What is the NIOS?
The National Institute of Open Schooling is the board of education under the Union Government of India. The NIOS is a national board that administers examinations to increase literacy and provide education to rural areas.
It also offers vocational courses after high school. It provides both distance education and an alternative to boards like the ICSE and the CBSE. Many students with disabilities who have dropped out of school due to various reasons can apply to take the NIOS examinations. The NIOS conducts five categories of examinations, twice a year:
(i) Open Basic Education (OBE) (A level, B level, C level equivalent to Class III, V, VIII respectively of formal Education) courses are offered through Accredited Agencies (AAs)
(ii) Secondary – leading to Secondary School Certificate
(iii) Sr. Secondary – leading to Senior Secondary School Certificate
(iv) Open Vocational Education
(v) Life Enrichment Programmes
Admissions for the NIOS have been made 100% online and can be done by the candidate or their parents, or at an NIOS regional centre, study centre, or facilitation centre. More details can be found here. Examination centres under the NIOS will be institutes/schools that are affiliated to CBSE/ICSE or any State Board, up to Secondary/Sr. Secondary level.
Which disabilities are recognized by the NIOS?
Children with disabilities are defined under the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, and the National Trust Act, 2000, as well as students with specific learning disabilities.
Who are the important authorities under the NIOS system?
Centre Superintendent: Is the Principal/Vice Principal of a School which is an Examination Centre recognized by the NIOS.
Regional Director: heads Regional Centres and is in charge of coordinating and supervising the work of the Study Centres in the respective region and to facilitate the academic and administrative support to learners.
Regional Centres are also intended to act as resource centres of the NIOS in respective regions. The responsibility for admission and examination also lies with Regional Centres. Contact details can be found here.
What concessions are provided by the NIOS for children with disabilities?
Candidates can opt for more than one examination benefit from the clauses below:
(i) Extra time:
Additional time of 20 minutes per hour of examination for each of the subject is to be given to cover time required for reading over by the scribe, understanding the question, dictation, fatigue on account of sitting continuously etc. If the medical condition requires short breaks for better performance, a break of not more than 10 minutes per hour will be permitted.
Candidates with the following certified impairments will be provided with a scribe facility:
(b) Cerebral palsy
(c) Intellectual disability including mental retardation
(d) Multiple disabilities
(e) Blindness, low vision
(f) Speech or hearing impairment (can also be provided interpreter that can communicate in sign language)
(g) Any other impairments such as specific learning disabilities like dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and developmental aphasia
When applying for the scribe facility, the candidate should specify the language the scribe should be comfortable using. If the candidate with the disability prefers to draw diagrams etc. themselves despite using the overall services of a scribe, this may be permitted.
(iii) Additional Help:
Depending on the nature of the examination, the following persons may also be appointed to assist the candidate during the examination:
(a) Lab Assistant
Conditions for appointing support personnel:
(a) The scribe, reader, lab assistant should not be related to the examinee
(b) The scribe, reader or lab assistant may be a student of any age or class but the scribe should not be from the same subject(s) in which the candidate is being examined. If they are from the same stream, then the scribe, reader, lab assistant should be an education level that is one class lower than the candidate appearing for the examination
(c) In case of an emergency, a change in amanuensis, reader, lab assistant shall be accommodated
(d) The services of different scribes, readers, lab assistants for different subjects are permitted
(e) It is the responsibility of the Centre Superintendent of the examination centre to ensure the provisions are granted to the candidate as requested and to inform compliance to the Regional Director.
On such a request, the Centre Superintendent is to choose a suitable person from the school as far as possible and forward their name and photograph to the concerned Regional Director with a report giving full particulars of the candidate and of the scribe, reader, lab assistant required for consideration and approval
(f) In case the scribe is appointed by NIOS, the candidate can meet the scribe the day before the examination in the presence of the Centre Superintendent
(g) All scribes shall be paid a fee of Rs. 100 per session of examination by the Superintendent of the Examination Centre. Payments to readers, lab assistants and sign language interpreter will be as per payment norms of the staff. Candidates with disabilities will not required to pay any charge/fee for the scribe unless arranged for by themselves. Candidates with temporary impairments will have to pay the fees for the scribes themselves
(iv) Non professional support personnel:
At times, caregivers may be required to help the candidate into the examination hall and find their seat while other cases may require a caregiver to remain with the candidate for motivation and comfort. These are permitted as long as a prior application in the given format is submitted along with the application form for permission and the same is obtained from the Regional Director.
(v) Use of computers:
Candidates with the following impairments can use computers in the examination after a written request is made to the concerned Regional Director:
(a) Minimal hand function
(b) Blindness and low vision
(c) Learning disability
(d) Cerebral palsy
(f) Other impairments, on request
In case of use of own computer: Candidates may bring their own computers along with assistive devices or bring the required software including screen reading software/devices.
It is the responsibility of the Centre superintendent to ensure adequate power supply and a printer to print the answer scripts of candidates using computers. The Centre Superintendent will have the right to check the machines for any potential misuse, like pre-fed information. The candidate will need to report to the Examination Centre one hour in advance to complete these formalities.
In case of use of NIOS Computer: It is the responsibility of the Centre Superintendent to ensure there are an adequate number of computers with appropriate hardware, software, and removable storage devices.
(vi) Infrastructural arrangements
(a) The Centre Superintendent should ensure that the building is accessible and proper ramps and other support is available including accessible toilets. In case the entire building is not accessible, the examination of the candidate with disability shall be held on the ground floor
(b) In case of separate arrangements, the Centre Superintendent will make arrangements to seat maximum of four students in a separate examination room with a separate invigilator for supervision. If required, a single room with an invigilator shall be provided for a candidate with disability. The examination room should be well lit and ventilated away from noise and distractions
(c) In cases where candidates with disabilities are enrolled in the Special Accredited Institutions for Education of the Disadvantaged, the study centre will be the examination centre also, but in the interests of ensuring that all support needs are met, the NIOS may allocate any other place as an examination centre
(vii) Special Provisions for specific impairments
Candidates with blindness and low vision
(a) These candidates will be provided with alternate questions in the theory papers in place of the question related to marking and labelling of maps, construction of geometrical figures and diagrams/graphs etc. at secondary and senior secondary level
(b) Besides scribes and use of computers, these candidates may take examinations by using braille typewriters, which they have to bring on their own
(c) Equipment such as Taylor frame and geometry drawing kit will be allowed in the examination hall. Prior permission for the same may be obtained from the concerned Regional Director
Candidates who are deaf/with hearing impairment
Sign language interpreters will be allowed in the examination room. In case of multiple students with hearing impairments, one interpreter may be found adequate for each examination room. The Centre Superintendent may take decision regarding arrangement of an Interpreter
Candidates with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation), Multiple Disabilities
(a) Computers with adapted hardware like trackball instead of mouse, augmentative communication boards (illustrative and not exhaustive) may be allowed
(b) Candidates with intellectual impairments may opt for project work
(c) Adapted chair, table, bed, etc., may be allowed in the examination room in case of candidates with specific disabilities who need them
(d) Provision may also be made for reading out the questions wherever necessary
(e) Depending on the requirement, candidates may arrange for their own tools and equipment
Candidates with Learning Disability/Leprosy-Cured Candidates
General provisions above shall be available to candidates with these impairments on submitting appropriate certification.
If a candidate has a disability that is not mentioned in the above categories should approach the concerned Regional Director at least four weeks prior to the commencement of examination for availing accommodations during the examination.
How can your child avail of these concessions?
To avail of concessions, any one of the following certificates are acceptable:
(i) Disability Certificate(s) issued by government hospitals under central or state governments (see article on Disability Certificates)
(ii) Disability Certificate(s) issued by recognized institutes of national level such as National Association for the Blind, Spastic Society of India etc.
(iii) Disability Certificate(s) issued by non- governmental organizations/practitioners registered with the Rehabilitation Council of India/ central government/ state government of the respective states
In case of temporary impairments like hand injuries or short term illnesses, where candidates require scribes or other concessions, medical certificates by government hospitals must be submitted. The parent of the candidate is to submit this certificate along with details of the subjects and concessions sought to the Regional Director, NIOS, in the prescribed format.
Please note: Candidates with disabilities should write their impairment (as mentioned on their certificate) on the top of the answer book. And this must be endorsed by the Centre Superintendent.
What can you do if your child is not given the right concessions?
The NIOS grievance redressal mechanism is headed by an officer of the level of Joint Director designated as Chief Grievance Officer at the Headquarters and Regional Head as Grievance Officer in the Regional Centre.
You can write to the Chief Grievance Officer with the details of your grievance and documentary evidence if any. If required, you may also meet the Chief Grievance Officer/Grievance Officer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 4PM and 5PM. Grievances are to be addressed within 60 days, and provisions for interim response is also mandated.
The contact details of the Chief Grievance Officer is
Mr. Sunil Kaura
Joint Director (Admin.)
Room No. 107
Noida Uttar Pradesh-201309
Phone No. 0120-4089806