By Sumeet Kaur:
Distance Learning or Correspondence Learning is becoming a popular choice for everyone today. Well, distance learning is essentially studying from a distance in a college or university. Distance learning (education) is a modern system of non-formal education. Distance Education takes place when the instructor and student are separated by space and/or time. The gap between the two can be bridged through technologies.
Earlier the course material was made available by post but with the advances in technology like the internet, radio, television, video and audio cassettes etc. and other audio-visual aids the course content can be accessed in real time. It means that you can study at your own time and at your own pace from your home. Isn’t that a boon? So, it can fit in with your current lifestyle whether you are working full or part-time. And if you are eager to learn, there is nothing that can stop you. You just need to check out the right university offering the course that you want and whether your prior qualifications for enrolling in a particular short term diploma course or, certificate courses, undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes match the minimum eligibility criteria without being tied up to the boundaries of the formal classroom and without the formal presence of the teacher.
Distance Learning may be a popular choice for you if you want to improve your educational qualification while you are in jobs and can brighten up your chances of promotion. It also serves to be beneficial for those who are having financial and geographical constraints for taking admission in reputed colleges and universities where the number of seats in a course are very much fixed. Another section of the society that distance learning can benefit is people who could not enrol themselves in institutes at the required time, or were deprived of receiving proper education due to some or the other reason. Age is not a barrier in most of the courses and one can carry on his/her studies for his self improvement or knowhow.
All distance learning courses make available high-quality self-learning material to the student in the form of printed books and in a digital format, online and at times through virtual classroom settings as well. Here is a list of a few Distance Learning Universities.
1) The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) offers high-quality teaching through the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode. The University provides learner-centric quality education, skill upgradation and training to all by using innovative technologies and methodologies. It has approximately 4 million students in India and 21 Schools of study offering about 490 certificate, diploma, degree and doctoral programmes. IGNOU also offers a satellite-based TV channel devoted to educational and developmental needs of the society (Gyandarshan I, II, Gyanvani, etc.)
2) Sikkim Manipal University: This is one of the most preferred distance education universities in India. With a wide range of distance courses, it is mostly known for its distance education programs in MBA and Executive MBA. It has been honoured by Star News as the Best Management Education in Distance Education. India’s premier career counselling organization India, Careers 360 has also ranked it as the student’s most preferred university. Amongst many of its services flexible exam schedules is a wonderful opportunity for working professionals who seek admission here.
3) Symbiosis Center for Distance Learning: SCDL is recognized by Distance Education Council, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India. Symbiosis provides quality distance education in the fields of Management, Law, Computers, Health Care, Arts and Commerce. SCDL’s self learning and e-learning material is comparable to that of any full time management institute . Today, the total active student strength of SCDL is more than 2,53,577 across 48 countries including India, US, UK, Middle East, Russia, Germany, Singapore, Japan and many more – making it one of the few large and most sought after distance learning institutes of India. The key features of SCDL are Online faculty Chat Sessions and Virtual Classroom Facility besides numerous other features it has to offer.
4) Mahatma Gandhi University: Founded in the year 1983 the Mahatma Gandhi University is recognized by the University Grants Commission. The university has 18 colleges affiliated to it. One of the top ten universities in India offering distance education this university has 25 teaching departments spread over different disciplines.
5) Kurukshetra University: This university offers quality education in various fields like arts, science, technology, management, environmental study, defence and social study, and in languages. It provides the best study material prepared by the experienced faculties. It also organizes seminars and workshops to enhance the knowledge of the students. This university has many affiliated colleges and institutes. This university is contributing to improving the education level in the state.
A word of caution for the students who wish to seek admission into a Distance Education / Correspondence Course is that they need to confirm if the University and the course into which they wish to enrol is recognized by the Distance Education Council (DEC), New Delhi. The DEC is the body responsible for the promotion and coordination of the open university and distance education system, and for the determination of its standards. Students enrolling into courses of universities that are not DEC recognized might be doing so on their own risk as the course could not be valid for some higher studies / job opportunities.