New Delhi: India is a diverse nation with multiple options available for students pursuing higher education. Distance Education constitutes a major part of the higher education spectrum in India. As per the reports on the Distance Education Bureau, UGC website, the share of distance education to Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is 22-23%. The website estimates approximately 40 lakh students enroll in distance education programs annually. According to the same website, in 2010 there were 242 dual mode universities (universities which offer both regular and distance courses) and 14 Single mode Open Universities in India. This makes the choice of a student tough when it comes to selecting an Open or Distance University for pursuing higher education.
With so many options available, how will you choose the right institution?
Approval and Recognition
The first and foremost thing to check is that the institute you are planning to enroll in is recognized by UGC or not. UGC, in June 2016 had released a list of 22 fake institutes in India offering distance programs. UGC regularly publishes list of approved universities on its website. Check the list before applying to any distance university.
In case of technical courses, you should also check that the university has proper approval, wherever required, from the apex bodies such as AICTE, NCTE etc.
Apart from the approval, which should be the first priority, there are other questions which you should consider.
Does the university have a study center near your residence? Since many universities conduct weekend classes and doubt classes at their respective study centers so it is important that a study center should be close by. Students also get to interact with the guest professor as well as other students from their batch which is always beneficial for a student whose interaction with faculty is usually limited through post and email.
Exam and Result Schedule
Does the university conduct their annual/semester exam on time and declare result on time? You would not want to stay behind in your higher education pursuit just because the distance university where you completed your last degree decided to delay declaration of results.
Pre-Exam and Post-Exam Services
Does the university provide pre-exam and post-exam services? It is also important that the university provide necessary support for pre-exam processes such as exam form submission and assignment submission. In many cases students miss out on their exams because they had no clue about exam form submission date. Also post-exam students often find it difficult to apply for revaluation because necessary guidelines are not available. Make sure that you check the procedures and guidelines for these processes before applying for admission.
Read Here: Where To Pursue Distance Education In India
Online Study Module
Does the university offer online classes/guidance? Nowadays, many universitis are opting for digital medium to provide counseling and guidance, which is an added benefit for students who can't afford to attend the classes at study centers. Check if the university offers online classes or study material.
You can easily find most of these information from a university's official website. Check UGC, AICTE etc. for the approval information. Also talk to any student who has completed their education form the same institution. No one can give you practical feedback than a student who has completed their education from an institute.
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