With an aim to provide ­opportunities for higher education to those who are not able to benefit from a formal system of education, Jamia Millia Islamia started the Centre for Distance and Open Learning in September 2002. “In a country like India, access to good-quality higher ­education is not ­available to everybody. There are ­various constraints such as cost and distance. Even if some ­students have these means, they are unable to get ­admissions due to high cut-offs and limited seats. Everybody cannot get 100%, so does that mean ­education should be denied to them? No. This is where distance ­learning comes in and ­provides the right to ­education to everybody,” says Mirza Tariq Beg, director, Centre for Distance and Open Learning.
The centre is approved by ministry of human resource development, ­government of India and all the ­programmes are approved by joint committee of DEC, AICTE, UGC/NCTE. It has established 31 study/programme centres. These centres are located at various places in UP, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Orissa and Maharashtra.
Jamia Millia Islamia recently opened its ­admission window for ­distance ­learning courses. The centre offers a range of ­undergraduate, ­postgraduate and ­postgraduate diploma courses in English, political science, sociology, human resources management, public ­administration, ­international business and finance, ­geoinformatics, etc. There are entrance tests for a few ­programmes like BEd, ­diploma in electrical ­engineering and diploma in power generation ­engineering. Fee range is from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 40,000 for all the courses.
“There is a perception in India that more recognition is given to a regular degree as compared to open and distance learning degree. In Jamia Millia Islamia, we ­maintain the same ­standards in distance and regular ­courses. Both the degrees have their own value,” adds Beg.
The centre also runs an Urdu certificate course. The purpose is to teach Urdu by means of different languages (English and Hindi) through distance mode. The certificate programme is offered free of cost. However, the candidate needs to pay Rs. 100 by post for the dispatch of books and ­correspondence.
“I was working as an English trainer to support my family financially but I didn’t want to put my ­studies at stake. That’s why I chose open and distance ­learning and did MA in English from Jamia Millia Islamia’s Centre for Distance and Open Learning. I miss attending regular ­college but distance learning helped me manage my job and ­studies ­simultaneously. Teachers were ­cooperative and study material was ­adequate. However, there were tiny specks in the armour such as ­communication gap and delayed results. I hope they will be resolved in the near future,” says Kiran Kashyap.
The centre facilitates a learner to study from his/her own chosen place and allows the student to ­determine his/her own pace and ­convenience. The ­distance education programme ­delivery system includes the multi-media approach, i.e. self-learning print material which contains both theory and practical components, audio and video programmes. There are ­tutor-marked assignments, counselling sessions include clarification required in the print material and other ­related difficulties through active interaction with ­students. Also, the ­centre has recently launched an SMS alert service, wherein a student gets connected with centre by receiving/­sending messages. Students get messages about academic activities related to his/her programme.
Looking ahead to the future, Beg says, “We have plans for growth. This is ­comparatively a new centre. BEd is our ­flagship programme, earlier we had only 100 seats and the number has now been increased to 500. We now have a proposal to increase it to 1000 because there is an acute shortage of teachers in India.”
Important dates for admissions
August 13, 2013
Bachelor of education
August 19, 2013
Diploma in electrical engineering
Diploma in power generation engineering
September 11, 2013
MA in English
MA in Hindi
MA in sociology
MA in history
MA in human resources ­management
MA in public administration
MA in political science
Master of commerce
MA in education
September 12, 2013
Bachelor of arts - general
Bachelor of commerce
Bachelor of international ­business and finance
Bachelor of business studies
September 20, 2013
Postgraduate diploma in ­guidance and counselling
Postgraduate diploma in ­geoinformatics
Diploma in early childhood care and education
Certificate in computer hardware and network technology
Certificate in computer and information technology