Tamil Nadu: the Mecca for Distance Education in India -3

This is the third and final article in the series of three articles on the variety of distance courses available in the various Tamil Nadu Universities. In this article, we will discuss the various courses offered by the two State Universities - the Periyar University, Salem, and the Manonmaniyam Sundanar University at Tirunelveli and the SRM private University at Chennai.


The various courses available through Distance Education at the Periyar University, Salem, and the Manonmaniyam Sundanar University at Tirunelveli, a predominantly agriculture-based town in South Tamil Nadu, are quite interesting. The range of courses is very good and these courses cater to the students in neighbouring districts. A few students whom I was able to interview did opine that the overall knowledge offered by these courses was quite good and motivated them to do further courses or to improve their knowledge in one way or the other.

As pointed out in the first article in this series, Tamil Nadu: the Mecca for Distance Education in India, the Tamil Nadu Universities supplement each other in the offerings and if one takes into account the sheer variety of courses, there is every possibility that many people, irrespective of whether he or she is employed in the manufacturing sector, in organized retail, in service industries like hotels, in the vast IT companies, or the BPO companies or wherever will find one course or the other to pick up and acquire the much-needed domain knowledge. This is a big advantage in the State and since the transport facilities are very good, the students from one part of the State do enrol in such courses and take the examinations in the centres nearest to them. Invariably, the Universities have one examination in each of the big cities and this is another big advantage.

The second article in this series Tamil Nadu: the Mecca for Distance Education in India -2 discussed the important features of the distance education courses of the Madurai-Kamaraj University at Madurai, the Bharathiyar University at Coimbatore and the Bharathidasan University at Tiruchirapalli.

The two-State Universities discussed in this article face fresh competition from a highly regarded deemed University of repute, that has a pan-India and even international reputation, namely, the SRM University, that has several campuses all over India and with very good placement records and extremely high quality of teachers. SRM University, though relatively new, is making its own mark with its unique MBA course.

In this article, we will discuss a) Courses at the Periyar University, Salem b) Courses at the Manonmaniyam Sundanar University and c) The new kid in the block - SRM deemed University.

Periyar University courses

Salem is a booming city near Erode and the District headquarters. The airport in this city is being revamped as well and there are plans to connect it to other big cities in the country. Salem is famous for a number of good colleges in arts and science and engineering.

In distance education, the Periyar University has been making a mark in recent years. The institution is called the Periyar Institute of Distance Education (PRIDE) and this University has a number of innovative courses on offer. For example, in the Post-graduate stream, where the number of takers is very high, the University offers the MA (Education) course and this is extremely useful to all school and college teachers in the three districts of Salem, Krishnagiri, and Dharmapuri, and there is a provision for lateral entry to this course for those with a Master's Degree and the B.Ed qualification, directly to the second year, and such candidates can acquire the MA( Education) degree in one year. The Tamil Nadu Government also offers incentives to school and college teachers who acquire higher qualification and this course is reportedly in good demand.

There is also the MSc (Yoga) course and the MSc ( Electronics) course. The M.Sc (Telecommunications) course is said to have good enrolment from the employees of the private sector power companies and the BSNL as well. Among other unique courses are the PG Diploma Course in Bio-Informatics and the One year PF Diploma in Computer-Aided Manufacturing(CAM). Inquiries reveal that this course has many takers from the local manufacturing companies. The University also offers an MBA course with a string of specializations.

Contact Information:-
Periyar Institute of Distance Education (PRIDE)
Periyar Palkalai Nagar
Salem 636 011.
Tamil Nadu
Phone:- 0427 -2345766, 2345258
Email id:- prideoffice@periyar.ac.in
Url:- periyaruniversity.ac.in/pridecontact.in

Manonmaniyam Sundanar University courses

Tirunelveli town is a district headquarters town that is more than 600kms. from Chennai city. It is a predominantly agricultural district. It is famous for its food and has a string of good colleges that offer full-time courses. However, the relatively poor families engaged in agriculture tend to get their sons and daughters enrolled in the local Manonmaniyam Sundaranar University at this town.

To cater to the needs of such thousands of students from the Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and the Tuticorin districts, the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University does offer a big variety of the usual undergraduate courses in subjects like Tamil, English, Economics and so on. Special mention should be made of courses like the BA (Criminology&Police Administration) and the BBA courses. The cost of such courses is a fraction of the regular courses and according to informed sources, there are big enrolments from Kerala, which is just a few hours away. In particular, students who have done the MSc (Criminology and Police Sciences) do opine that it helps the in-service police personnel and those aspiring to get into the police force as well.

The MSc (Psychology) and the MBA (Production) courses on offer are reported to be in good demand from those who belong to this district but are employed in cities like Madurai. While the courses of this University may not have the brand value of the big names in Tamil Nadu, like the Bharathiyar University, Coimbatore, offerings of which were discussed in the second article in this series, Tamil Nadu: the Mecca for Distance Education in India-2, the Manonmaniyam Sundaranar Unversity is also gaining momentum in the past few years and is reportedly seeing increased enrolments in the MBA course.

Contact Information:-
Manonmaniyam Sundaranar University
University Buildings
Tirunelveli-627 012
Phone:- 0462- 2321614/2321620
Email:- directorddce@msuniv.ac.in
Website:- www.msuniv.ac.in

The new kid in the block -- SRM deemed University

Though a new kid in the block in distance education, SRM is reputed to be amongst the best five deemed Universities in India. Its formidable achievements in the field of engineering, medicine, law, and Management has already made SRM a big name in India. Its placement record is excellent.

The SRM University has introduced a few innovative courses in distance education. The BA Bharatnatyam) course is one such. Bharatnatyam is a classic dance of Tamil Nadu, with a global appeal. Similarly, the Diploma in Yoga for Human Excellence and the MBA course that is reasonably priced offers enough opportunities for students employed in Chennai, to pick up any of these courses for their skill development. The course in Bharatnatyam reportedly has many takers; the MBA course is also gaining traction, according to the close observers of the Chennai scene.

Contact Information:-
Directorate of Distance Education
908, 9th Floor,
University Building,
Kattankulathur 603 203
Tamil Nadu
Phone:- 044- 274170040, 91 -9940360147
Email:- director.ddo@srmist.edu.in
Url:- srmist.edu.in/distanceeducation.directorate/


With so many Universities to choose from, as explained in the three articles, the students from Tamil Nadu have a wide variety of distance education courses from the State University and the private deemed University, SRM. In the years to come, new courses are expected to be introduced and one can only hope that the coverage of any interested student from any corner of the State will be fully catered to. The sole University with a national reach, that is, Annamalai University will continue to make further inroads into excellence in distance education.

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