Disha Pawar has just finished her first year of bachelor of commerce (BCom) through a distance education programme, but is now hoping to move to studying full-time.
Pawar, 19, works at a small family-run shop in Antop Hill and studies simultaneously through Mumbai University’s Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL).
“If my results are good, I would like to shift to a regular college,” said Pawar. “I would have preferred to go to a college, but I also had to work. Even though IDOL provides one with study materials, education is better in a classroom.”
Enrollments through IDOL have fallen since the academic year 2008-2009, even as enrollments for postgraduate courses have grown.
In 2008-09, 17,843 students enrolled for first year BCom and Bachelor of Arts (BA) programmes, a figure that has fallen to 13,443 for the academic year 2011-12. 2,140 BSc students enrolled across all three years of the course in 2008-09, a figure that fell to 1,027 in 2011-12.
“The decline could be because new colleges have opened up, while existing colleges have added new divisions,” said D Harichandan, director, IDOL.
IDOL provides students with study material and then conducts exams for them at the end of the year. The institute also provides counselling services to solve academic and administrative doubts.
IDOL students faced a host of problems this year –hall ticket printing errors, centre allocation goof-ups and in wrong question papers given to some during exams.
“It wasn’t systematic this time, so we faced a lot of problems,” said a second year BCom student of IDOL.
Students who appeared through the National Institute of Open Schooling for their Class 12 exams were aggrieved when the university said they would have to apply to IDOL since their results wouldn’t be available in time for college deadlines.