BIS #6894 Making Education Open, Flexible and Free

By Fr Adolph Furtado for BISMumbai

The open, flexible, and free classes for students of Classes 10 and 12 under the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) at Don Bosco, Nerul, is an initiative that has gained much popularity in recent months. 

With a total of 90 students attending the class every Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the class has seen a steady increase in its student base over the past 6 months. It all began with Mr Alex Rajan, a computer professional,  volunteering his time to teach computers to five students, and now the numbers have swelled to 90, with six teachers mentoring them. ‘Initially it was a challenge. Now I enjoy teaching them and learning from them. I feel accomplished and I would like to continue teaching them and be a part of Don Bosco NIOS, Nerul”, says Mr Rajan.

The students who come largely from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds are engaged in various subjects, with computer education being the most sought after skill.  Volunteers take on the responsibility of imparting knowledge and skills, and their efforts have paid off in the form of positive feedback from both the students and their parents. 

These students are school dropouts, or unable to go to school due to various reasons. Therefore, there are no fees involved, making this education accessible to everyone. Additionally, the volunteers offer support to help them succeed with their studies. “We wait for Saturdays to come to Don Bosco to study and play”, says Ms Ekta Dogra and Ms Nargis Khan.

The open and flexible approach of the class has been a big hit among students, as it allows them to study at their own pace and in a comfortable environment. The free classes have become a beacon of hope for many students from lower income families that cannot afford the fees for conventional schooling. 

This small success story from Don Bosco Nerul holds testament to the great power of volunteering, and the positive impacts it can have on the community at large in the service of those disadvantaged.