The future of distance education in India

There is lot of scope for open and distance learning today in India. There are total 13 open universities and more than 200 distance education centers that offer various distance learning courses in India. Most of the students today opt for  distance learning education because of their personal and professional reason .There are many  private institutes that provide distance education for all the courses at various levels. Recent report says that more than four million students are enrolled in open distance learning programms.Open learning education system and distance education system is the best option for working professionals, House wife and many other people who cannot attend the classes regularly due to some personal or professional reasons.

Recently the Open and distance learning was governed by the distance education council(DEC), established by Indira Gandhi National open university(IGNOU) in 1991.There are many open  learning universities and distance education universities that provide the best distance education courses. The main advantage of open learning and distance education is the flexibilty.People from anywhere. Anytime can go for distance education.

There are even universities and institutions that provide online courses, and one more thing is the courses that the fee structure for the courses is here is less compared to the regular courses. When you opt for distance education courses, or the courses that are offered part time, or the courses that offered through online, then it is not necessary for you to attend the colleges regularly either the classes are conducted during weekends and most of the most of them are conducted through online.

The institutions offering Open distance learning programs found that the norms prescribed by  the DEC is too rigid and unrealistic because it was lacking flexibility to meet the diversity of  the local concerns.
In the year august 2010, the ministry of human resources (MHRD) constituted a committee under the chairmanship of NR Madhava Menon to suggest measures to regulate the standards of education being imparted through distance mode. The Madhava Menon Committee observed that DEC, UGC and AICTE do not have wherewithal to enforce their norms in the distance education space. The committee then introduced Open distance learning program which was independent.

Notifications was issued in the month of may to replace DEC with UGC and AICTE.But the UGC and AICTE to take the roles and responsibilities is doubtful.TH MHRD order required UGC and AICTE to prepare an action plan for the growth and development of distance education system in India in the light of the Madhava Menon committee report within three months of MHRD's December 2012 order. But notification regarding IGNOU dissolving DEC is issued but not from UGC and AICTE.Again the notification was sent to them to take the responsibilities of UGC and AICTE.

But its been almost one and a half month there is no response. But in 1980's it was decided that technical and professional programs cannot be provided through online. The Madhava Menon Committee the Madhava Menon Committee has strongly recommended for review of UGC’s blanket ban on MPhil and PhD programmes through ODL system and running of ODL programmes by deemed universities.

It has been observed that the concern for quality has to be addressed through a comprehensive and effective regulatory mechanism and not by imposing bans. However, MHRD has not clarified its stand on these issues. Overall what is required is an independent and effective regulator there should be coordination among the regulators and not the conflict.

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