Digitalization will be the keyword for state's first open school as it looks to leverage technology for reaching out to as many students as possible. Though open schooling is predominantly about self-study, Maharashtra State Open School (MSOS) is tapping into broadcasting technology to make studies interactive.

Plans are afoot to beam lectures on Doordarshan and All India Radio, so that students don't merely depend on books to comprehend the syllabus. Entire syllabus will also be digitalized and put on CDs for convenience of students while retaining the traditional textbook system.

Though the government has not declared it yet, TOI has learnt that the education department is exploring ways to make lectures available on mobile phone through Android apps. While this option may not be available right from next year, there's little doubt that it will help in reaching out to lot of youngsters.

As reported by TOI on Saturday, MSOS will be a game changer in state's school education system as it looks to rein in the annual dropout count, which currently stands at approximately five lakh (for Std I-X). Giving a peek into its thinking on why MSOS will be a success, the education department has mentioned that approximately 1.5 lakh students appear for Std X board exams as private candidates. These students are referred to as Form No 17 candidates, which is the name of the form they fill to register as private candidates. The department says that since curriculum and evaluation for both regular and Form No 17 candidates is same, it can be a major reason for failure and ultimately their dropping out of the system. The department hopes to shift entire 1.5 lakh Form No 17 candidates to MSOS, which with a special curriculum will be more in line with their learning ability.

Another focus of MSOS is skill-based education. Education minister Vinod Tawde told TOI that apart from providing academic qualifications, it was vital to equip students with skills. Tawde said, "Academics and skill learning has to go hand in hand to optimize the chances of success for students. We will be putting a lot of thrust on skill development by offering subjects to students."

MSOS will also have a different curriculum for children with special needs. It has announced the composition of MSOS governing body which is expected to get into action soon. As per plans the MSOS will soon be financially independent with revenues coming from registrations. State's school education secretary Nand Kumar said that MSOS will not put any financial burden on the department. – TOI