Further more, with India’s vast population and a graduation degree, a must for getting a respectable job and universities and colleges already overcrowded, admissions to which are being found impossible, the distance education programme is the only desirable course.
India has come to realize this and the distance education programmes have been launched, and quite successfully too in all parts of the country.
The rate of illiteracy in the country being very high and to combat the situation, National Literacy mission was founded in 1988. The aim of course, was total literacy by the year 2005, but that seemed a distant dream. Still under the Total Literacy Campaign around 80 million people benefited and then quite some of them wanted to pursue their studies further.
No regular schools available to cater to this vast number, open school system was set up by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in 1997. With the use of distance education techniques, this set up started imparting education up to the secondary stage since 1982-83.
Then in 1989 was set up the National Open School as an autonomous body and it began imparting education through the techniques of distance education and issued certificates which were duly recognised for further studies. Now it is offering graduation and post- graduation courses.
In 1982, the Andhra University adopted the distance education programme and offered some of the most informal courses. Finally, the largest Open University of the country was started in 1985 — the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) as it came to be called. This University with its headquarters at Delhi opened up branch offices in all the States to enroll students to all courses of study — multifarious courses in all disciplines with no age bar for enrollment. Office employees, army men, police personnel and people of all ranks and all cadres began enrolling themselves for the different courses and began successfully completing them.
Written material was provided to students through mail and audio and visual lessons were also arranged to be imparted. The study material provided, there was also student teacher interaction arranged at fixed centers and the most sophisticated teaching methods were used in educating students. Video Conferencing is being arranged which is a ‘virtual class’ and doubts of students, if any can be removed by. Using ‘hot line’ attached to Delhi center.
Most of the students who have been passing out have got duly employed in the line of their choice — the courses are varied and even vocational and there are very informal courses too which no formal University, normally offers.
Now even States have started Open Universities at their own level — U.P has set up one at Allahabad, there is the B.R. Ambedkar Open University of Hyderabad, Kota Open University at Kota (Rajasthan), Nalanda Open University (Bihar), Y.R. Chavan Open University at Nasik (Maharashtra), Bhoj Open Univeristy at Bhopal (M.P.) and Ambedkar Open University, Ahmadeabad (Gujarat).
The aim and object behind this Open University set up is to minimize the rush of students for admissions in already over flooded universities and colleges; to do away with the rigidity of regular attendance in the classes, and to help those who due to monetary constraints, family circumstances, or being-in-job constraints are unable to join a formal course of study at a college or a university.
This is education at your door step that is the concept and the philosophy behind this movement, Side by side there is no compromise with the quality of education imparted.
The courses, though varied, have their own specialists preparing the study material and evaluating the work submitted by the student. Now experiments are on way to arrange laboratory work at colleges and universities during holidays in order to provide the benefit of this system even to students offering experimental subjects.
With the internet advancement in the field of information technology, it can be hoped that Distance Education would become more educative than the education imparted at colleges and universities. There is hardly any risk of strikes disrupting the academic session; there are no absentee-teacher problems, and no apprehensions of the use of unfair means.
Distance Educational programme is a real boon to this vast country like India. That is the only solution to the problems that higher education is facing at present.