Distance Education in India – what you need to know

Education through distance mode has come to be accepted. And with more and more universities offering educational programmes through distance learning modules many people are looking at distance learning as a viable option. Here's a look at the pros and cons of distance education and the best institutions to study MBA and PGDBA.

What is Distance Education

Distance Education, is also termed as distance learning, is a method of imparting education, often individually, via different modes that often do not require physical presence of either the teacher or the student. The teaching/learning is not done in a regular classroom environment. Education through correspondence is also a form of distance learning. Students receive study material either through mail or via the internet. There is no direct interaction between the instructor and students.

A few distance education programmes have periodical classroom sessions for clarification of doubts and examinations, but they are few and far between. A lot of convenience is offered to students of distance education programs. They have the freedom to study and take online classes anywhere, at their convenience. Such programmes are suitable for people who are unable to enrol in regular courses or those who want to enhance their education, but do not have the time to attend classes. It is fantastic opportunity to complete not just certificate and diploma courses, but also undergraduate and post-graduate courses.

Are you eligible for distance mode of education?

The best feature of distance education programmes is perhaps the flexibility it offers. It provides opportunities that are rarely available in mainstream education.

  • Age limit – Age is generally neither a criteria nor a limit for distance education. Those interested in learning can do so at any age
  • Over-rated intelligence – Main stream education sets standards that define intelligence. Distance learning treats everyone at par. You can join a course, if you wish
  • Time barrier – With distance education people have a flexible schedule. Studies can be scheduled as per convenience. There are no daily classes to attend and learning can be done at your own pace

MBA & PGDBA through distance education

Working professionals wanting to further their career prospects often opt for MBA & PGDBA programmes. There are quite a few universities that offer learning through distance mode, but some of the most established and recognized universities that offer MBA & PGDBA programmes are listed below –
  • IGNOU – The Indira Gandhi National Open University tops the rank for the MBA course it offers. The university was established in 1985, by a Parliamentary Act. The fee for the MBA course is around Rs.31,500
  • SCDL – The Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning is approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). It is also a member of Distance Education Council (DEC). SCDL has a PGDBA module through distance learning. The fee structure varies – Defence & Paramilitary personnel pay roughly Rs.30,000 while personnel belonging the Police department pay a lesser charge of approx. Rs.27,500
  • Amity University, NOIDA – Amity offers an online, distance learning MBA programme that is accredited by the UGC. Candidates have a choice of two modes of learning
    1. Online Distance Learning
    2. Distance Learning via Correspondence
    The fee varies based on the mode of learning. An initial amount between Rs.65,000 and 1.25 lakhs is required to be paid and thereafter semester fees as required
  • Sikkim Manipal University – Recognized by both the HRD Ministry & the UGC, SMU charges Rs.15,000 per semester, for a total of 4 semesters for PGDMA & MBA courses
  • ICFAI – The Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India is accredited by the UGC for its MBA programme that costs roughly Rs.65,000
  • IMT – The Institute of Management Technology based in Ghaziabad, near New Delhi has a PGDBA programme consisting of 9 semesters. The fee structure is calculated per semester and varies between Rs.42,000 & Rs.64,000. Along with being recognized by AICTE and being accredited by SAQS, the institute has an A*** rating by CRISIL. It is also a member of GBSN and AACSB
  • Maharishi Dayananad University – MDU is an NAAC accredited university in Rohtak, Haryana that offers 2 & 5 year MBA programmes with the approximate fee range of Rs.37,500 and Rs.38,500
  • Bharati Vidyapeeth University – This Pune based institution has an accreditation from the UGC and NAAC with A Grade. The Bharati Vidyapeeth institute has a 3 year MBA course
  • Lovely University – This popular Punjab-based university charges just Rs.9,900 for each semester along with an examination fee of Rs.500 for its MBA course. The Lovely Professional University is recognized by the Distance Education Bureau of the UGC
  • Indian Institute of Finance – IIF is based in New Delhi and is accredited by several significant international institutions. The institute charges Rs.25,000 for a 2 year Masters of Business Finance (MBF) programme

Check out our list of distance education colleges in India.

The pros of distance education summarised

Distance education comes with many advantages. Here is a lowdown on things that are in favour of this mode of education –

  • Flexibility – Allows you to take up a programme when you want. Lets you study at your own pace, anytime, anywhere
  • Low-cost – The fee is affordable as it is comparatively lower than regular classroom programmes
  • Study while working – There is no need for a sabbatical in order to pursue a course, as work and study can be done simultaneously
  • Freedom to study anything – Students are not restricted from studying a course of their choice because of class size or cut-offs. As long as they meet the basic criteria, they are free to enrol in a course of their choice
  • Age no bar – Distance education courses can be enrolled in at any age, as there is no maximum age limit
  • Save on travel time – There are no class room lectures to attend, so time management is a lot easier
  • E-learning modules – Ample study material and online tools are available throughout the course and can be utilized freely
  • Contact classes – Periodic contact classes are scheduled to clear doubts

The cons of distance education

There are many reasons why programmes under distance learning are not as popular as conventional classroom held courses. Let's understand the major reservations that most people have towards distance education programmes –

  • Contactless teaching – Habituated to typical classroom atmosphere, most individuals cannot adjust to distance learning programmes that involves self-study and online tutorials
  • Employability – There are some concerns about the acceptance of such courses by employers/organizations and whether these programmes actually enhance career prospects
  • Quality – When it comes to distance learning the question of quality always crops up. It is difficult to maintain standards and only a few institutions have been consistent in delivering quality education through their distance education programmes
  • Online learning a deterrent – Not everyone is tech-savvy and this is where the problem with distance learning programme lies. People are naturally apprehensive of something that they are unfamiliar with, leading to lack of interest and mistrust

Before you take the plunge ask yourself if you have the aptitude to study via an informal programme, which is what all distance learning programmes are. Be selective picking a course and the university that you choose. Opt for a reputed distance education institute in India that offers online learning tools and provides ample study material, and facilitates learning through frequent contact classes. Most importantly, the institute and the course you select must have a standing in the industry.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: Partha K.08 Feb 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 10

At the outset, I would like to thank the author for this extremely useful article. In this connection, I would like to mention following few points:-

(a) The title of the article is little bit confusing. The author has talked about management education through distance learning. She has not covered other courses offered through distance education.

(b) Every student, before taking admission to any distance learning course including management course, must check whether the degree is recognized or not. And this must be checked from UGC website and DEC website.The prospectus of the university/institute cannot be fully relied upon.

(c) So far as employability is concerned, the distance degrees offered by the UGC-recognized universities do not cause any hindrance in employment in Government sector. However, the private sector is still hesitant to appoint such degree-holders. The mindset is required to be changed.

(d) So far as the quality of distance management degree is concerned, I can say with conviction that the quality of study materials provided by IGNOU is one of the best in India. I cleared NET in Management with very good percentage utilizing the study materials of IGNOU.

(e) Online-learning is still not recognized in India. As far as I know, no management degree offered online in India is recognized. But I am not fully sure in this regard.

(f) The distance management degrees offered by Pondicherry University, Anna University, University of Madras and Annamalai University are also well-known in India.

Concluding my response, I reiterate that many people will find this article extremely useful.

Author: Juana10 Feb 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 8

Thank you for your valuable and encouraging comments.

To answer your major grouse – the title was picked keeping the search engines in mind. This is why it speaks of Distance Education as a whole. The ‘meta tag’, just above the main article clearly mentions the content of the article. This again is in keeping with SEO trends. The ‘meta tag’ is what shows in Google Search, and it provides the gist of the article.

This is how my article shows up in Google search -

Jan 26, 2017 - Distance Education in India – what you need to know ... pros and cons of distance education and the best institutions to study MBA and PGDBA."

Further, over 60% of the article is about Distance Education.

You have rightly stated the need for checking whether the course on offer is recognised by a competent authority. The article has covered this aspect.

Distance education is still looked at sceptically by many organisations, but that trend is slowly changing. The number of renowned universities offering this mode of learning is evidence of that. There is also the fact that those who choose to pursue a programme through this mode are already employed and are just looking to better their qualification and skills. After a certain time lapse, it is the experience that matters more than the degree.

I do not understand why you would think that online management degrees offered in India are not recognised. Most of the universities mentioned in the article are recognised by the UGC and their degrees are valid.

Author: Swati Sarnobat22 Mar 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

Universities that offer online degrees should be recognized by the state and should be accredited. Those universities should also provide several regular courses. Some universities even provide open examination system which is agreeable to some people, while not agreeable for some. Derive maximum information about the university and the courses that they offer. They should provide online tutor facilities and should regularly update study materials online. Their website should consist of user-friendly interactive features.

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