On October 3, the Jain Shwetambar Terapanthi Mahasabha (JSTM) – an umbrella organisation of the Terapanthi sect of Jains – signed an MoU with NIOS. JSTM officials said there are more than 20,000 monks and nuns across the country who migrate throughout the year and struggle to continue with their basic education.
According to the MoU, JSTM will provide financial backing to establish new study centres in various states, while NIOS will provide these centres accreditation. The institute will also provide courses and conduct exams free of cost, said Saroj Sharma, chairman of NIOS. “In the first phase, centres will be opened in Rajasthan, Gujarat, West Bengal and Maharashtra. In the second phase, we will also focus on other states, including Delhi and UP,” said Vinod Baid, general secretary, JSTM.
Officials said since NIOS does not have any age bar, monks and nuns at any age could continue their school education at its centres. An NIOS representative said the accreditation process would start once JSTM provides a list of nuns and monks with them and locations where the centres could come up.