Distanceeducation is an education that aims to deliver education to students who are not physically present. It is often termed as flexible learning as one can handle other commitments along with their studies.
There are two systems of correspondence education: 1. the regular system, and 2. the open system. In the regular system, the qualification requirements for enrolment are similar to those prescribed for the normal university courses. In the open system, the courses are open to any person who may not even possess any formal qualifications. But in some institutions they should have attained the age of 18 years for under-gradate and diploma courses and 21 years for postgraduate courses. Enrolment in some courses is subject to qualifying in a written examination.
Nature of Distance Learning Courses
Distance education institutions offer courses at different levels: first degree, postgraduate degree, diploma and postgraduate diploma, certificate and even research degree (M.Phil. and Ph.D). The courses cover a wide variety of subjects. Apart from the traditional courses in Arts, Science and Commerce, both at first degree and postgraduate degree levels, a large number of professional courses at different levels are also offered. They include teacher education, library and information science, journalism and mass communication, nursing, management and its different branches, computer and information technology and several branches of science, computer and information technology.
Distance education is imparted by three kinds of institutions
Departments of Correspondence Courses in universities and university level institutions
Open Universities exclusively involved in imparting higher education through the distance mode, and
A large number of private institutions mostly offering professional courses.
Distance education Admissions
The mode of distance education admissions may be different depending on the institutes/universities. Some of the institutes conduct entrance exams while others may make the admission process simpler (direct admission). Benefits of Distance Education
Nowadays the employment market is highly competitive and the best jobs go to persons possessing requisite qualifications only. In many organisations, getting promotions depend on the possession of higher qualifications. So the correspondence courses provide them opportunities to enhance their qualifications.
As the course fee of these courses is much lesser than the regular courses, distance-learning courses in India have also become popular in the rural areas. Thus the distance learning institutes are serving a very important cause by enabling the less advantaged sections of the society to pursue higher education of their choice.
In particular, distance education is a boon to housewives, who can use their precious leisure time to enhance their educational qualifications and employment potential.