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Best options in open learning

Uttarakhand Open University was established by an Act of Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly in 2005 (Act no 23 of 2005) with the aim of disseminating knowledge and skills through distance learning, using the flexible and innovative methods of education to ensure ‘independent learning’.

education Updated: Jun 19, 2012 15:25 IST

Dehradun

Name of Institute:
Uttarakhand Open University

Uttarakhand Open University was established by an Act of Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly in 2005 (Act no 23 of 2005) with the aim of disseminating knowledge and skills through distance learning, using the flexible and innovative methods of education to ensure ‘independent learning’. The university uses novel educational
programmes, various modes of communication technology and contact sessions to make distance learning more effective.

Professor Vinay K Pathak, vice chancellor of the university, says, “Owing to the educational needs of the students in the far flung areas and for those who cannot pursue a regular course, the university has its centres across the state.”

One of the major objectives of the university is to cater to the educational needs of the target groups to create skilled and knowledge-based human resource for speedy upliftment and development of the state. The University aims to impart quality education by maintaining high academic standards. For this purpose, it has radically reoriented itself in view of the rapid changes in the sphere of professional and technical education and has developed a number of new and innovative self-employment/employment oriented courses of study.

“The fee structure is very reasonable, keeping in view the paying capacity of different sections of society. The courses offered by the university have been tailor-made to ensure multifaceted growth of the learners,” says Prof Pathak.

Alum notes
My yatra began from here

I completed Class 12 in 2010 from Behri, a small city in Uttar Pradesh. I initially wanted to pursue a BBA, but my parents advised me to do a professional course that was of one-year duration. BBA would have taken three-and-a-half years and my parents were not in favour of that. Since I scored only 56% in 10+2, I had limited options in terms of undergraduate courses. So, I opted for a one-year diploma in tourism from Uttarakhand Open University for which I paid Rs. 56,000.

Both the study material and the guidance I received during the course was excellent. The university puts emphasis on the practical aspects rather than theoretical ones. Students are given notes which are extremely useful and the faculty is at par with any other regular institute and college anywhere in the country.

At present, I am working with Yatra.com in Gurgaon and I am quite satisfied with my work profile. I am earning a good salary too. After my diploma course, I was so impressed with the study programme that I have now applied for the bachelor in tourism programme with the same university. I have decided to make a career in this field. The only problem is that the university has study centres only in Uttarakhand. It becomes difficult to work in Gurgaon and go and attend classes somewhere in the state. I wish the university introduces online study programmes that will encourage more and more students to apply for its courses.

As told to Jeevan Prakash Sharma

What’s on offer

Contact programmes
Uttarakhand Open University conducts personal contact programmes, counselling sessions through study centres, where students directly take advice from the faculties and counsellors. The University also conducts special workshops for one week at various regional centres on each subject, where expert speakers from related fields are invited to deliver lectures. The website also has video lectures of the faculty and field experts

Material available
There are more than 20,000 students enrolled at present. The university provides both self-learning material in print and digital formats. Plans are also afoot to start a community radio station at the new campus to reach the learners directly

Programmes offered
Besides traditional courses like BA, BCom, BBA and BSc, there are various programmes offered in the fields of journalism and mass communication, social work, tourism and hotel management, agriculture, management, computer science and education. Special focus programmes include certificate in technical excellence. BSc (biotech), BA (IT), MA (education), MCA, MJMC, MSc (geo informatics) and many more. Several certificate and diploma courses have been developed for the people of Uttarakhand. These include ayurvedic beauty care, ayurvedic masseur, technical excellence, yogic science, naturopathy, ayurvedic herb cultivation, basic workshop techniques, basic maintenance and repair, management information science and technology for rural youth, acupressure, ayurvedic food and nutrition, industrial training, panchkarma assistant, industrial process, public health and community nutrition, modern dietetics and ayurvedic nutrition, broadcast journalism

Exam centres
UOU doesn’t have any study centre outside Uttarakhand. So, a student who has enrolled with the university has to be physically present at the study centres which also serve as examination centres. From this session onwards, the university is going to start an online admission process for students who don’t have access to the regional centres for collection of prospectus

Admissions
Admission is given twice a year starting June and January.

Moving on from here
"Since we are a government university and committed to impart cheap education the fees are very nominal,” says Pathak.

UOU facilitates placement of students passing out from the university’s various departments besides collaborating with leading companies, organisations and institutes in setting up of internship and training and placement programme of the students. The director of the cell coordinates with the industries and the cell also liaises with various industrial establishments, corporate houses etc that conduct campus interviews and select the graduate and postgraduate students

Coordinated by Jeevan Prakash Sharma

Straight from the head
There is stress on practical exposure. Agriculture, journalism, social work, panchkarma and jyotish vigyan are some fields where students get professional training, Prof Vinay K Pathak, vice chancellor, UOU

Patiala

Name of Institute:
Department of Distance Education, Punjabi University

The Department of Distance Education, Punjabi University, Patiala, is the second institute in the country that was set up with the idea of imparting education in distance mode to students who cannot afford regular education.

It came into existence in March 1968 as the Directorate of Correspondence Courses and became Department of Correspondence Courses in 1988 and was renamed as the Department of Distance Education in 2009.

This department was the first in India which started Punjabi as medium of instruction and examination. All the courses of the department have been recognised by the Distance Education Council.

Professor Bakhshish Singh, a prominent figure in the field of distance education in India and abroad, was the first director of the department. Currently, the department is being run under the dynamic leadership of Professor Tejinder Kaur. The faculty of the department comprises 17 professors, five associate professors and 36 assistant professors.

On offer here are 47 multi-faculty inter-disciplinary courses, out of which there are six undergraduate degree courses and 16 diploma and certificate courses. Computer applications is offered as one of the elective subjects in the BA programme.

Students also have access to counselling and consultancy services regarding admissions to various courses of the department through PCPs/radio broadcasts/
phone-in-counselling programmes and direct telephone service.

The study material is written in self instructional mode (SIM). Other facilites include a well-stocked library with a spacious reading hall offering journals, magazines, books and other reading material.

The department has a well-maintained multimedia and computer lab that is Wi-Fi connected. About 10,000 students enrol each year at the department.

The syllabi are also updated keeping in view the guidelines issued by the UGC/AICTE/NCTE.

Alum notes
A life-changing experience

I grew up in Hussainpur village, district Mohali, Punjab. After completing my schooling, I joined Punjabi University, Patiala, as a peon because I needed a job badly to support my family. I got in touch with teachers from the university who suggested that I should enrol in a bachelor’s level programme at the Department of Distance Education, Punjabi University.

I joined the BA course at the department and studied English, Punjabi, history, political science and religion. After completing my undergraduate degree with 50% marks, I took up the MA programme in Punjabi followed by an MPhil in the subject, which I passed with a first division. Now, I wish to pursue a PhD in Punjabi and have applied to the post of assistant professor at Punjabi University, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, or Chandigarh University. I have also cleared the UGC NET.

I would strongly recommend a distance learning degree to those who want to study while they are working. My experience studying at the Department of Distance Education, Punjabi University, Patiala, has been amazing. The study material is exhaustive and after reading it, you don’t feel the need to consult other books. The way the concepts are explained to students is very effective and to the point. The teachers are always there to guide you and there are other support systems in place such as the audio-video laboratories which facilitate learning.

Even the non-teaching staff is very co-operative and supportive. The department has totally changed my life. It proved to be God gift’s because I got inspired to mprove my qualification and continue to learn.

As told to Gauri Kohli

What’s on offer

Contact programmes
The department organises personal contact programmes for its students regularly

Material available
Printed lessons are being supplemented with audio-video lessons which can be borrowed by the students from the department library

Programmes offered
BA; BCom; BBA; BCA; BLIS; BEd. The department also offers various diploma and certificate courses which can be pursued along with degree courses.

These include: Diploma in library science, diploma in HIV/AIDS counselling, diploma in Gurmat sangeet, diploma in divinity (Sri Guru Granth Sahib studies), Gurmat sangeet praveshika, Punjabi praveshika, gyani, certificate course in French, certificate course in German, Sri Guru Granth Sahib certificate course, certificate course in spoken English, certificate course in computer applications, certificate course in soft skills and personality development, Punjabi gyan, certificate course in Urdu, certificate course in Sanskrit.

Admissions
Tentative admission schedule 2012-13
Without late fee: August 29, 2012
With late fee of Rs. 2000: September 9, 2012
With late fee of Rs. 5000: October 10, 2012 (with the vice chancellor’s permission)
Six-month certificate course in spoken English, certificate course in computer application, certificate course in soft skills and personality development
Without late fee: October 1, 2012
With late fee of Rs. 500: October 15, 2012

Exam centres
The department has several exam centres across Punjab.

Fees - Approx
The university has a differential fee structure for students from within and outside the university and Punjab. The total annual programme fee for undergraduate courses ranges from Rs. 4460 to Rs. 9385.

Moving on from here
Many students after completing courses from the department get placed in various jobs. Many of them have joined the teaching profession, a few have joined insurance companies and a few have got employed in various administrative jobs and in various libraries. Some have also joined the media. Students have also found jobs abroad after completing their studies in Gurmat sangeet.

Coordinated by Gauri Kohli

Straight from the head

Through distance education mode, our effort is to take education to the learner’s doorstep instead of compelling the student to throng the teaching institutions, Dr Tejinder Kaur Head, department of distance education