How does a Aarohi  student write/appear for Std 10/12th exams in the mainstream system? 
One option is the National Institute of Open Schooling - NIOS - which is explained below:

First a video guide compiled by two boys who have gone through 10th (and 12th) via NIOS. See the whole playlist for your questions answered. Pl note these are views of Aakarsh and Dhruv and not an official guide to NIOS. The NIOS website is a comprehensive & authentic source of information and online registration.


Note: The following information about NIOS is based on email exchanges in the alt-ed-inidia egroup. 

  1. NIOS is a centrally/nationally recognised exam conducting board. It is designed for students who cannot attend school due a variety of reasons like (child labour, school access, etc).
  2. It is designed to help students only through self-study.
  3. They conduct exams at Std 10 (secondary) and Std 12 (senior secondary) in March-April and Oct-Nov each year.
  4. The students will only need age proof and address proof to be eligible to sit for the Std 10/12 exams. Minimum age criteria is 14 years as on June of the admission year for Std 10 and 15 years for Std 12.
  5. Students will need to take a minimum of 5 subjects (max of 7) to complete Std 10. Maths is an optional subject. A maximum of 2 language subjects can be taken from a choice of over 6 languages (but in Maharashtra, the State Board recognises a NIOS student only if English is one of the subjects). Same is the case with Std 12. Read the full prospectus online.
  6. Since 2007, admission can be done online including online payment of requisite fees with credit/debit card.
  7. NIOS has a list of Accredited Institutes (AIs) (mostly schools and educational institutions) in many cities who act like the local distributors of NIOS (for the purposes of textbooks, exam hall ticket, contact classes, tutor marked assignments, etc).
  8. NIOS allows for students to appear for the 5 subjects in a staggered time frame (for e.g., a student can appear for 2 subjects in Mar 20XX and for the remaining 3 subjects in Oct 20XX). In fact, a student can appear for only 1 subject at a time over 5 different exam schedules. That is the level of flexibility in this system.
  9. Most of the curriculum material is available online.
  10. NIOS is a great option from the viewpoint of flexibility and student-centricity.
  11. About Further Admission into colleges and acceptance of the same:
    Though NIOS is flexible and recognized by all the boards across India. The ICSE and CBSE boards (for 11th and 12tth std) accept students from the NIOS stream only if they have given all 5 exams in one sitting and another requisite is that the student needs to have taken English and one additional language as subjects.
    Similarly NIOS is accepted in *almost all* colleges and IITs. some insist that the child has completed, as mentioned above,  all subjects in one sitting, and English + second language in their 10th
  12. All colleges having an entrance exam for qualifying the students do recognise NIOS.
    However, In TN, Anna Univ does not recognise. 
    For Children who have language difficulties or preferences, and do not write the second language paper in NIOS - it is advised that they join French course with Alliance Franchise when they complete 10th std. This will help them to join any college other than professional colleges, which have a second language requirement.
  13. About range of % Marks that NIOS gives
    NIOS awards 80% and above for really exceptional students. They are quite strict in their corrections. The subjects with practicals will have an advantage than theory based ones like Home science, Word processing etc
  14. Regarding admission to professional courses - depends on what you are meaning..
    If it is Engg and Medicine, the child need not choose NIOS isnt it? Wouldn't a regular school be better? Or one can go for coaching classes?
    If it is for professional courses like Catering, Hospitality, Interior Decoration which are offered as Graduate courses now, and in great demand, they even prefer NIOS students, due to the choice of subjects and exposure they have.
  15. Usually NIOS students given their limitations of time or interest in academics, they get 70 to 80 percent average and this is more than sufficient to get into courses out of the rat race. IGNOU offers excellent courses which have a great degree of value in the job market. You can look at their website

(Info by Vidya Shankar, Chinnai)

NIOS Website links

Admission - Secondary & Sr. Secondary

  1. Academic Course Prospectus 2013-14
  2. Medium of Study
  3. Fees at a Glance
  4. Procedure for Online Admission
  5. Flowchart for Online Admission
  6. Public Notice for Admission and Examination
  7. Locate (AI) (Study centre)
  8. List of Regional Centre