Distance Education through the System of Open Learning has become very popular in India. Read in the following article to know more about the Open Learning System in India.
Distance Education through Open Learning System
The mode of delivering education and instruction to students who are not physically presented in a traditional classroom setting is referred to as Distance Learning; and this kind of education is imparted through the system of Open Learning.
Open learning, on the other hand, is a system of learning that fosters self-determined, independent and interest-guided learning. This kind of learning was popularized by Celestin Freinet in France and Maria Montessori in Italy. By the 20th Century, more substantial work in the field was conducted by German pedagogues Falko Peschel, Hans Brugelmann and Wulf Wallrabenstrein.
System of Open Learning in India
A developing economy, the education sector in India has shown a remarkable progress since 1947. Earlier education was somewhat restricted to the upper strata of the society and the marginalized remained mostly uneducated or mastering some minimal knowledge. The government of India took up some serious measures in order to ensure that higher education reaches to the masses. Institutes offering higher education began expanding and it is then that the concept of Open Universities and Distance Education was adopted.
This new concept of education was adopted by many universities to meet the ever-growing demand of students who lacked the essential means to pursue higher education through the even frame structure. The system of Open Learning abides by certain principles. They give a plethora of choices to the learners. These include the following:
- Media, whether print, online, video or television
- Place of study that is devoid of any geographical barriers
- Pace of study, whether slowly paced or unstructured
- Support mechanisms, whether tutors on demand, audio conferences and other computer-assisted learning
- Entry and exit points
Observe the table below carefully to get an idea about the teaching scenario within the Distance Learning and Open Education system.
|Same Time||Different Time|
|One Particular Place||Classroom teaching, face-to-face interaction, workshops and seminars||Learning Resource Centers that are visited by students at their own convenience|
|Different Place||Teaching methods conducted mostly through video conferencing and also audio conferencing; telephonic tutorials||Home study, tutorials supported through e-mail, the Internet and fax|
Distance Learning pays attention to these aspects emphatically when it comes to providing education to the masses.
Benefits of Distance Education
Some of the benefits of Distance Education include the following:
No Geographical Constraints: Perhaps the biggest advantage of Distance Education is that, you can stay within the comforts of your home at the same time pursuing a course of your choice.
Flexibility: One of the most important reasons behind the popularity of Distance Education is its flexible nature. Many do not get the luxury of finishing studies according to their own time. Sometimes economic constraints or other reasons may force them to think otherwise. For such individual distance education is definitely a boon.
Save Time and Energy: As a student of distance education you can save a lot of time. Most importantly you can pursue a course from a university in Delhi while residing in Nagaon (Assam).
Study at Your Convenience: You can not only choose the subject of your choice but can also submit assignments online or just post it. You can also choose your examination dates.
Open Universities in India
As the Indian education system opened its doors in the system of distance education, a completely new vista came into existence. The first Open University, Dr B R Ambedkar Open University offering Distance Education in India was founded in 1982 in Hyderabad. As the intake of students began to increase, the central government took an initiative in fostering the development of the Distance Education through Open Universities.
Indira Gandhi National Open University: In 1985, the Government of India set up the Distance Education Council in New Delhi with the sole motive of promoting and coordinating Distance Education through Open Universities. It is a constituent of the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act (IGNOU). IGNOU is the second-oldest and the largest Open University in India.
Founded in 1985, IGNOU is the world’s largest Open University with more than four lakh students. It aims at providing higher education opportunities especially to the destitute segment of the society. At a broader perspective it coordinates and sets standards for distance education and Open Universities in India. Twenty-seven years down the line, the university has offices in 40 countries across the world with 21 Schools of Learning. Students can choose from studying Engineering and Science (BSc/MSc) to Performing and Visual Arts.
The success of Distance Education through IGNOU led the other state government to set up similar institutes within their constituencies. From Gujarat to Assam, from Himachal to Tamil Nadu, every state has an Open University to its credit now. Later, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) also appeared on the scene and began to affiliate/recognize Open Universities
Some of the best-known Open Universities of the country are:
- BR Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad
- KK Handiqui Open University, Guwahati, Assam
- Karnataka State Open University, Mysore, Karnataka
- MP Bhoj Open University, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
- Sikkim Manipal University, Gangtok, Sikkim
- Netaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata
- Uttarakhand Open University, Haldwani, Uttarakhand
This is not all. Leading universities of the country like Delhi University, Calcutta University and Mumbai University have also ventured into conferring degrees through Correspondence Courses and Distance Education. Delhi University’s School of Open Learning is one of the most popular institutes among the students. The School is all set to make it to the Limca Book of Records for admitting a record number of students (4800) in one single day.
Distance learning degrees that are recognized by the DEC, AICTE or the UGC is accepted everywhere and employers do take into considerations such degrees. Therefore students with a degree in distance learning education for an Open Learning need not worry about getting a job.
Author Bio: A skilled writer and an ardent blogger, Sampurna Majumder has been lending her know how to prominent websites like Shiksha.com by penning articles and blog posts on education trends like Open Learning System, top MBA colleges in India and Distance Education.