Name of Institute: School of open learning
The School of Open Learning, formerly known as the Directorate of Correspondence Courses, established under the University of Delhi in 1962, is a pioneer institution in the field of distance education in India. The country witnessed the beginning of an alternate mode of education when the school started with a modest admission of 900 students in 1962. The school enrolled more than 3.50 lakh students in the academic session 2011-2012. On many occasions students from this institution have been toppers in a range of disciplines.
The examination is also conducted by the University of Delhi. Degrees awarded to students have the DU stamp that other students of regular colleges get. In an effort to cater to the needs of a growing number of students, the school established the South Study Centre at Motibagh from the academic session 1990-1991, which has a number of students now.
This course complemented my needs
My father, an electrical contractor, had big dreams for me but was not sure about the funds to supplement his dream. But this challenge did not deter me from pursuing my graduation. And it was all possible because of the flexibility of timings which the School of Open Learning provided. I enrolled for my graduation in 2002 in the arts stream and simultaneously pursued computer courses and some part time jobs to defray my education expenses. And I must say that I never felt disadvanatged in any way in terms of not being in a full time college. The teachers were available round the clock to clear all doubts. They also helped in terms of selecting appropriate reference material. Even the administrative side of SOL is very forthcoming and helpful. There has never been an occasion when I had to run from pillar to post in search of details pertaining to fee payment, examination tickets etc. At SOL I shaped my future career goals and this was possible because of the encouragement and guidance that I received from teachers.
What’s on offer
The School of Open Learning includes regular classroom lectures and discussions at various Personal Contact Programme (PCP) centres for a specified period ranging from 20 to 30 days in a year. Local students may be provided DTC destination bus pass facility only during PCP classes from their residence to the school or the south study centre and back
The syllabus for each paper is divided into a number of lessons. Lessons are prepared by experienced teachers and cover the entire course prescribed by the University of Delhi. These lessons are sent to students at regular intervals. The school is soon launching its audio visual centre
The school offers courses in arts/humanities and commerce streams of study at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. The undergraduate courses are of minimum three year duration while the postgraduate courses are of minimum two year duration. The undergraduate courses include the bachelor of arts programme, bachelor of arts (honours) programme English, bachelor of arts (honours) political science, bachelor of commerce and bachelor of commerce (honours)
The examination is conducted by the University of Delhi. The university confers the degree to the students of School of Open Learning as it does in the case of other constituent colleges
Students who have passed the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination of the Central Board of Education or any other examination recognised as an equavalent is eligible for admission. The admission process is governed by DU norms
Fees - Approx
Fee concession is granted on merit-cum-means basis. There is also a provision of financial aid to the tune of Rs. 2500 for needy and poor students
Moving on from here
The opportunities in terms of careers and higher studies are the same as those for students who pursue full time courses in various Delhi University colleges
Straight from the head
The School of Open Learning is a pronounced step towards achieving inclusion in the education sector , Dinesh Singh Vice Chancellor, DU
Name of Institute: Indira Gandhi National Open University
The Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) takes education to the ‘unreached’ segments of the population — not just those in the remote corners of the country but also to people in Bollywood (actor Deepika Padukone registered for a BA sociology programme in 2005.) It’s also meant for those keen on professional development while working and for the growing ranks of “digital natives who prefer distance modality to the four-walled regimen,” elaborates M Aslam, vice chancellor, Ignou.
“Even if a student joins the formal, conventional system of education at the graduation level, he can still be a student of the ODL (open and distance learning) system,” says Aslam, adding that a BA with diploma in a chosen area could improve his employability. Created by an act of Parliament in 1985, Ignou started two courses in 1987, a diploma in management and a diploma in distance education. Today, the university has more than 2.7 million active students — as compared to 4,528 in 1987 — enrolled in 400 programmes, including 3500 courses at certificate, diploma, degree and doctoral levels, in disciplines ranging from the traditional and classical to the emerging and offbeat. Almost all courses are delivered through the English and Hindi medium except the certificate in food and nutrition, which is in 14 languages.
The university now has 21 schools of studies; some centres; a network of 67 regional centres, including 47 directly connected to Ignou, nine in the north-east, six for the army, four for the navy and one Assam Rifles centre; about 3,240 study centres and 82 overseas centres. It has 48,000 teachers from the conventional system who conduct counselling sessions where students can come for doubt-removal and peer interaction as well, says Aslam.
From the railways to civil services
I am from a middle-class family. My father is an ayurvedic doctor doing private practice and my mother is a housewife. After my Class 10, I was selected for a railway commercial vocational course . This was a unique scheme by the Indian Railways to recruit young people as commercial clerks and ticket collectors to improve its efficiency and service delivery. After successful completion of the course, there was an offer of appointment as commercial clerk or ticket collector. I joined Siuri station of Asansol Division of eastern railway in June 2004. Since I was working and did not have the option of joining a regular course, I opted for Ignou. I did my BA (Hindi literature) in 2003-06 with 70.73 % marks from Ignou and then MA (Hindi literature) and MA (public policy) from the same university.
There were other options for open education, but I choose Ignou because of the good quality of its study material. What did I like (or didn’t like) about pursuing BA through open mode or Ignou? I missed not being in a college but I was on my own and I had a lot of flexibility for my studies and exams. The whole experience was enriching. I was living three lives together – employee, BA student and civil services aspirant and I was able to manage my time due to the flexibility of the open learning system.
The quality of material and curricula was very good as each and every book was written by a team of distinguished writers of that field. Student support service was good. Though my study centre was in Muzaffarpur in Bihar, I took help of a study centre of my place of work (Siuri). Ignou has put in hard work since then to improve its study centre based on students’ feedback. I did not get time for contact classes — hardly attended two or three. I got 45th rank in Civil Service Exam 2008 in my first attempt at the age of 22-and-a-half.
As told to Rahat Bano
What’s on offer
The university has a network of centres for contact programmes to provide administrative and academic help to students. The centres organise counselling sessions based on the curricula at weekends.
The courses are delivered through multimedia platforms in the form of self-instructional print and audio/video material, radio and TV broadcasts counselling/ tutoring, lab or hands-on work, video conferencing, interactive radio counselling, interactive CD-ROM and internet-based learning. Ignou has 1.30 crore printed blocks, 1,562 audio programmes, 850 downlink centres and 3,482 video programmes. In addition to printed self-learning courseware, it airs educational and student support programmes through two Gyandarshan channels (via the DTH mode and webcasting) and 37 Gyan Vani FM stations. It also has a presence on video sharing website Youtube.
Bachelor preparatory programme (BPP), BCA, BA also with major in political science, history, economics, math, public administration, philosophy, psychology, sociology, English, Hindi and Urdu; BCom; BSc also with major in physics, chemistry, maths, zoology and botany; BA tourism studies; bachelor of social work; BSc (hons) optometry and ophthalmic techniques; BBA retail; plus many masters’, certificate and diploma courses
On-demand exam scheme in place.
Ignou has study centres in every major city in India. These centres serve as exam centres by “default”.
“However, keeping in view the number of examinees, Ignou creates as many number of exam centres as possible to accommodate growing number of examinees,” says Aslam.
This session, Ignou has 800 exam centres in India.
Ignou offers walk-in admission. An aspirant can go to the nearest regional centre and apply for admission. The application is considered for the following academic session. The deadline for most courses starting in the July 2012 session was June 15
Fees - Approx
The fee for UG courses varies from Rs. 1600/1700 to Rs. 8,000. It’s Rs. 850 for BPP
Moving on from here
There is a Campus Placement Cell at the varsity’s headquarters in New Delhi. The cell is “extensively engaged in interacting with the industry for engagement of Ignou students in jobs,” says Aslam. Ignou students “get good settlement after completing their programmes. The regional directors tie up with leading corporate houses for promotion of Ignou students in their jobs.
Coordinated by Rahat Bano
Name of Institute: Institute of distance and open learning, mumbai university
Established in 1971, the Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL) runs 14 Distance Education Council-approved programmes. The syllabi, examinations and degrees of these programmes are the same as those of the colleges and departments of the University of Mumbai. The IDOL offers some unique programmes at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels such as MA (Avesta Pehlvi), BSc (nautical Ttechnology) and MA (education) – the first of their kind to be introduced in the state of Maharashtra.
The IDOL is a member of International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) and Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU).
As a distance learning provider, IDOL is unique because the dropout rate is minimum and success rate of students appearing at university examinations is about 55%.
There is a surge of about 7000 to 10,000 students seeking admissions to IDOL’s programmes. Every year, around 6000 students belonging to SC/ST/OBC and other reserved categories get the benefits of freeship and scholarships from the Government of Maharashtra.
The IDOL owns basic and advanced infrastructure. It has an independent library with 45,000 books and 22 journals equipped with Software for University Libraries. It has got a computer laboratory with 56 computers, VLC with Edusat, and audiovisual cassettes. It has 28 laptops for research and development. The IDOL has developed 329 self-learning material books in Marathi and English.
The IDOL has a core faculty of eight members and four part-time coordinators from different disciplines. The faculty members have published 72 research papers, undertaken three minor research projects, two major research projects, authored 19 books, and edited a number of SLM books. The faculty members attended five orientation courses and three refresher courses. They have organised 24 workshops, seminars and conferences in the last five years. In the last five years, 3,51,954 students have taken admissions to the different courses at the IDOL.
A grandmom finds her dream course
I am a commerce and law graduate from Mumbai University and I am also a certificate associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers. Being interested in my religion, Zoroastrianism, and an active grandmother, I got the opportunity to attend Saturday classes in Avesta language conducted by the Bombay Parsi Panchayat. I attended these classes from 2001 to 2007 where I secured a distinction throughout.
They encouraged me to pursue higher studies through the Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL) of the Mumbai University as they offered master’s in Avesta and Pahlvi (very ancient Iranian languages). Our learning process was through reference materials (unlike other subjects where printed material as per IDOL course is available) laid down by the institute. This was a two-year course where, on completion, I stood first in my subject at IDOL and second in the entire MA batch held by the Mumbai University for which I was awarded merit certificates both by the Mumbai University and IDOL separately.
IDOL became an ideal platform of learning for me as I could continue with my work at home as well as apply my energies to the study. The concept of open and distant learning really encourages students, who do not have the scope or time to sit whole day through lectures in colleges, to pursue their studies and improve their education qualification in their subject of interest. The subjects offered by IDOL are so vast — including music, drama, languages and many other such allied subjects — which would be beyond the scope of regular colleges. The very subject of Avesta Pehlvi would be beyond the scope of any regular college.
As told to Gauri Kohli
What’s on offer
The institute organises guidance lectures under Personal Contact Programmes in certain subjects in Mumbai for students. Though the lectures are not compulsory, it is an attempt to provide guidance to students in solving their academic difficulties. These personal contact programmes are generally conducted one or two weeks before the scheduled dates of examination. Besides this, the institute conducts personal contact programmee lectures in various affiliated colleges for about three months in which students can get academic difficulties solved Counselling centres have been set up at the IDOL building. The institute also has audio-visual centres and some of its programmes are available through Edusat. University of Mumbai has recently introduced a community Radio MUST (Mumbai University Students Talk), set at frequency waves 107.8FM. It is located at Ranade Bhavan. It broadcasts educational programmes
Study material is the soul of the distance learner. IDOL provides maximum study material in Marathi and English. The study material is prepared in self-learning material format. The institute’s study material section provides syllabi copy to the students Students can also access old question papers through the University of Mumbai website. While the print material is by and large complete in itself, some concepts and their applications have been explained through the audio and video programmes as well, to facilitate better comprehension and understanding. The AV centre has more than 100 video cassettes in the subjects of commerce and economics which are syllabi oriented/curriculum based. Audio-video cassettes are not supplied to students individually, but are made available for listening and viewing at the AV Centre of the institute
BA, BCom, BSc (IT), BSc (computer science), BSc (nautical technology). The institute offeres post graduate programmes as well
Exam and study centres
The institute has 64 personal contact programme centres in Mumbai and Thane
Admissions begin in mid July and go on till mid September without late fee. Candidates can also aplly between mid Septmeber and mid October with late fee of Rs. 50. The online admission process begins from mid July to mid September with late fee of Rs. 150 till mid October
Fees - Approx
The approximate fee for undergraduate programmes is Rs. 3200 including the cost of study material, exam fee, administative fee and fee for personal contact programme lectures
Moving on from here
IDOL students have cleared the UGC NET/ SET examinations and the Civil Services exam, to name a few. Some of its students have gone abroad for their higher studies
Coordinated by Gauri Kohli