Can’t get in a regular college? Distance learning can be a good option

  • Gauri Kohli, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 22, 2016 19:05 IST
Ignou has, in the kitty, 228 learning programmes. (Imagesbazaar)

Given the high cut-offs and applications, that were thrice the number of seats at the undergraduate level in institutions such as Delhi University (with more than 2.5 lakh registered applications for about 54,000 seats), many young people find themselves left high and dry as admissions to various courses have closed in colleges around the country. For those who want to continue studies anyway, distance learning is the best option, especially when it comes to joining the Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou).

Courses on offer

Ignou is inviting applications for admission to various courses including bachelor of science and arts, tourism studies, commerce, computer applications, library and information science and social work for the next academic session.

A range of diploma courses are on offer in fields such as nutrition and health education, aquaculture, business process outsourcing – finance and accounting, English creative writing, tourism studies, dairy technology and women’s empowerment and development. Applications can be submitted online till August 17.

Reaching out to learners

Elaborating on Ignou’s efforts to reach out to as many learners as possible, Professor Ravindra Kumar, vice chancellor (in-charge), Ignou, says, the institute is “serving students through its learner support centres and teaching tools. The fact that the university’s self-learning material has not received any adverse remarks from the most discerning readers, learners and academic critiques in any part of the country is quite reassuring. It is also a good testimonial to dedicate ourselves to the cause of meaningful and quality open learning (and teaching) in the higher education sector.”

The university has also expanded its reach in terms of the number of programmes. “We are always on the lookout for an untraversed tract which can be explored and somewhat formalised as a learning programme. Ignou has, in the kitty, 228 learning programmes offering a variety including professional courses like BCA, MCA, tourism programmes like bachelor’s in tourism studies, and master’s of art in tourism management, social work programmes like bachelor’s in social work and master’s in social work, besides general education programmes like BA, BCom, BSc and related PG programmes in social sciences, humanities, extension and development education etc. Now we are focusing on development of skill-based and competency enhancement programmes along with vocational courses,” says Professor Kumar.

For the current year in the July 2016 cycle, admission is open in certificate, diploma, bachelor’s degree and postgraduate degree programmes. “We are very hopeful that we will be able to touch a cumulative figure of 10 lakh in the current admission cycle,” adds Professor Kumar.

Evaluation system and pedagogy

The university follows a credit system for most of its programmes. Each credit is equivalent to 30 hours of study. A multimedia approach is used for imparting education. This includes self-instructional written material, audio-visual material aids, counselling sessions, teleconferences and writing assignment responses. Thus, a four-credit course involves 120 hours of study. This helps the learner to analyse how much effort he/she has to put in, to successfully complete a course.

The university also offers eGyanKosh ( one of the world’s largest repositories of educational resources in higher education to learners for free. The eGyanKosh has self-learning material of around 2,565 courses and over 2,389 video programmes of Ignou.

Completion of an academic programme, degree or diploma, is based on a multi-tier evaluation system . This comprises self-assessment exercises within each unit of study, project work, term-end examinations, continuous evaluation mainly through assignments which are tutor-marked, practical assignments and seminar/workshops/extended contact programmes. In order to provide individualised support to its learners, the university has a large number of study centres, spread throughout the country and co-ordinated by 67 regional centres.

Read more: Eager, nervous students start first day of college at Delhi University

Focus on placements

According to Professor Kumar, Ignou campus placements have a lot of success stories to share. “In 2015, we had conducted four campus placement events and nearly 200 students were given job offers by the participating organisations. Our placement activities are now being extended to our regional centres. We are now also planning to expand these activities and set up a unit called Employment Guidance and Career Counselling which will provide the necessary prelude to campus placement,” says Kumar.

Box 1: Admissions info

Deadline to apply: August 17; August 31 (with late fee of Rs 300)

How to apply: Apply online at for 142 academic programmes in July 2016 session

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