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Distance education in India | How Universities are coping up


Prasanth Parameswaran


July 23, 2020
Distance education

You’re here probably because you’re wondering what is distance learning and how feasible is distance education in India? Let’s take an example.

Aditya completed his graduation from one of the top colleges in the country and landed a decent paying job in the city. Full of dreams and desires, Aditya starts making a career for himself. Years go by, and he climbs the hierarchical ladder and manages to become an indispensable asset to the company. Moreover, everyone likes his work, ethics and attitude, and he exhibits potential to be at the top.

However, Aditya skipped a heartbeat when his boss called him for a meeting one day. He told Aditya that his primary education was not enough for him to be promoted into a managerial role. It turns out; he needs a management degree for him to be eligible to assume the role of a manager.

There are millions of such people who didn’t pursue higher education. In fact, there are multiple people who find it difficult to move to good schools and coaching centres for quality education. 

Correspondingly, it is here that distance education comes in.

Distance education- A summary

Also known as distance learning, a simple internet search will get you the definition of distance education. It is termed as a system of education where students are not required to be on the site of the school/university for learning or education.

Distance education is for all people who cannot be on the site of their schools, colleges or coaching institutes. It is apt for people like working professionals, those pursuing part-time jobs/internships, and even students who are confined to their homes due to difficult circumstances. 

The prospects of distance education in the future are on an uphill slope with pandemic-like events surrounding us. The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has emphasized the importance of online education. Consequently, distance learning is going to become a big part of how students in schools and colleges learn. With the COVID-crisis, schools and teaching institutes will lean more towards alternative education means such as distance learning.

If you want to know what is distance education, the critical thing to know about it is that it heavily relies on technology. Facilitating distance education requires the right software for facilitating learning, stable internet connection and mobile devices like a laptop, tablet or a smartphone, as the communication between teachers and students is virtual throughout. In fact, it is very similar to mLearning.

Furthermore, Distance learning uses modern tools of education like online classes and online exams. MegaExams is an online exam software which allows teachers to create, conduct and evaluate tests online. It is a useful tool to facilitate distance education via online testing.

Benefits of distance education

A distance education program has become a blessing for the average Indian who didn’t get the opportunity to pursue their higher education. Due to this, the scope of distance education in India has increased by the right margin. Also distance education has in a way become the new-normal for all the stakeholders involved in it due to the pandemic. Many more benefits of distance education include the following:

Economical, resourceful and time-saving

A distance learning program comes cheaper than the traditional courses. It is a highly convenient way to continue learning as it allows you to study at your own timings. There are no class timings. Thus, you are not bound by a ‘class schedule’. The flexibility offered by distance education makes it a win-win option.

Juggle work and studies

You don’t need to take a break from your job to continue studying. Distance education enables you to study at your pace, according to your schedule. It allows you to continue working while you study to get your degree.

Fulfill your dreams

If you had to drop out of college due to financial woes, a distance education university lets you correct that mistake. You have a good chance of going back to college with distance education courses. You can fulfill your dreams without letting go of your financial responsibility towards your family.

Get new skills

Your education should not stop at a college degree. There is a lot to learn in the world that the sky’s the limit. Getting additional degrees via distance education related to your field of work will equip you with new skills. These skills will make you stand out among other graduates in your network.

Choose from reputed Universities

You get to choose which distance education program you’d like to pursue. You’re spoilt for choice as you can even go for Ivy League Colleges.

Education for all

Distance education in India is presenting itself to be a boon. People from all walks of life can enroll in a program of their choice and make their dreams come true.

Here is a consolidated list of top Universities in India offering distance education:

  1. Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)
  2. Sikkim Manipal University
  3. Karnataka State Open University
  4. IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute
  5. Maharshi Dayanand University
  6. Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning
  7. Netaji Subhas Open University
  8. Madhya Pradesh Bhoj University
  9. Dr BR Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU)

Distance education v/s Open learning

While distance education and open learning may seem very similar to each other, they are not. The primary difference is that distance education is a form of open learning. A course offered by an open university is very different from that provided by Universities with distance education.

Open learning allows people to access education despite any barriers. Unlike distance education, it is heavily guided by teachers and requires you to be present at the University for some lectures, practicals or exams.

Distance education, on the other hand, gives the student freedom to access education. In contrast to open learning, distance education allows you to access learning from any corner of the world, at any time.

An online exam is a technological boost which aids in distance education. MegaExams is a leading online exam software which allows seamless online test-taking.