Blog IAS

Institute of Advanced Studies


Distance Education or distance learning is introduced for the students who are interested to do some educational courses or higher education but are physically unable to attend regular classes in their respective universities. Under some correspondence school and colleges that offered them the opportunity to do these courses, they achieve their goal and get a chance to enhance their educational level.

History of Distance Education

According to the previous history India begin distance education in the year 1728. The concept of distance education was launched in Boston. The first distance education course in the modern sense was provided by Sir Isaac Pitman in the 1840s. The University of London was the first university to offer distance learning degrees, establishing its External Programme in 1828. The distance learning programme of University of London becomes a popular university at that time.

Growth and Development of Distance education in higher studies in India.

Distance Education for higher education in India was initiated in the form of Correspondence Courses in 1962, in response to the ever- increasing demand for higher education which could not be met by the conventional system. The Delhi University established a School of Correspondence Courses and Continuing Education in 1962. Encouraged by the success, the Education Commission (1964-66) recommended the expansion of correspondence education for various purposes. Consequently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) formulated guidelines for introducing correspondence courses in Indian Universities. Three more Institutes of Correspondence Studies were established in the late sixties. Twenty one more universities introduced correspondence programmes during the seventies. In the early eighties seven more universities started institutes of correspondences studies. At present there are 45 universities including four deemed universities offering correspondence programmes in the country.

In the history of distance education Andhra Pradesh government gave a lead to the country by setting up the Andhra Pradesh Open University (now renamed as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University) at Hyderabad in 1982. In 1985, the Govt. of India, through an Act of Parliament established the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) which is responsible for determining and maintaining standards of distance education and bringing about coordination among all distance education institutes including the open universities all over the country in addition to functioning as University for open learning and distance education programmes. From just a handful of students in 1962-63 the enrolment in correspondence courses rose to about 65,000 students in 1975-76. During the last fifteen years the annual growth rate of enrolment in open universities and the institutes of correspondence studies attached to conventional universities has been appreciably higher than in the conventional universities and in 1990-91 it was approximately 600,000. The proportion of students enrolled in distance education has steadily increased from 2.6% of the enrolment in higher education in 1975-76 to 11.5% in 1990-91. During 1992-93 the enrolment for distance education programmes was over eight lakhs. In the recent the no of students in distance education is more than ten lakhs.

Distance verses Regular Education.

After completion of graduation, that is nowadays the minimum qualification to apply for a job, students may interested to do post graduation also to specify their field of education and to increase their knowledge and level of education. To fulfill this urge they can do their post graduation in two ways:-

1)   Regular Education

2)   Distance Education

Regular education gives classes on a regular basis in a highly specific way and consumed a lot of time. To pursue post graduation is become impossible for the student who is working. Either they have to do their job or they have to do their education.

In this matter, Distance Education acts as a ray of light in the darkness for the working students, especially for those, who have responsibilities to look after their families. In some cases they are the only earning member of the family.  

Distance education gives them a proper way to structure their educational field. Those students who are interested to continue their higher education accordingly with their job can easily do without any extra effort.