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Learn without attending college

By Ranjan K Baruah

Many students ask me about distance courses or open learning. As there are many institutes offering courses under distance mode, many students who do not attend regular universities or colleges enrol themselves.
Distance education or long-distance learning is the education of students who may not always be physically present in an educational institute. Traditionally, this usually involved correspondence courses wherein a student corresponded with the school/college via post.
Today it has changed and along with distance mode now it also involves online education.
The University of London was the first university to offer distance learning degrees, establishing its external programme in 1858. Distance Education “is a process to create and provide access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both”. In other words, distance learning is the process of creating an educational experience of equal qualitative value for the learner to best suit their needs outside the classroom.
With the recent trend of technological advance, distance learning is becoming more recognised for its potential in providing individualised attention and communication with students internationally. It is a field of education that focuses on the pedagogy and andragogy, technology and instructional systems aimed to deliver education to students who are not physically “on site” or on campus.
This mode of education has been popular in India too. We are aware that Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system is where teachers and learners need not necessarily be present either at same place or same time and is flexible in regard to modalities and timing of teaching and learning as also the admission criteria without compromising necessary quality considerations.
ODL system of the country consists of Indira Gandhi National Open University, State Open Universities, Institutions and Universities offering education and Correspondence Course Institutes in conventional dual mode universities. With the dissolution of the Distance Education Council of the IGNOU, the regulatory power on ODL is currently vested with the University Grants Commission.
Degrees and certificates from recognised universities are valid but first choice of students should be regular courses as we learn more from regular courses than via distance mode.


NEST Entrance: National Entrance Screening Test (NEST) is a compulsory test for students seeking admission to National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) Bhubaneswar and University of Mumbai – Department of Atomic Energy Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences (UM-DAE CEBS), Mumbai. Both NISER and UM-DAE CEBS were set up by Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India in 2007. Their mandate is to train scientific manpower for carrying out cutting edge scientific research and for providing input to scientific programmes of Department of Atomic Energy and other applied science institutions in the country. NEST 2019 will be conducted in around 91 cities across India. Last date for applying is March 18.
NERIST Entrance: Online applications are invited for NERIST Entrance Examination (NEE) 2019 to be conducted by the North Eastern Regional Institute of Science & Technology (NERIST), Nirjuli, Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) for Base Module (Certificate Course), Diploma Module & Degree Module Courses in Technology streams and also Degree Module course in Forestry. The NEE 2019 shall be conducted for admission at three levels/courses and aspirants may fill in forms by March 25.

(Ranjan K Baruah is a career mentor and can be reached at 8473943734 or [email protected] for career related queries)

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