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Higher Education Through Distance Mode Challenges and Prospects in India

Syed Rabbe Subhani


    Education plays a vital role in national development. All nations of the world are trying their best for their survival in the race of development and progress, and “Education “is being considered as a key element for the purpose. Since independence we are facing challenges to establish a good and strong education system. Various governments tried to establish new and effective education policies in the system but they were not sufficient for our country. Still Indians are facing lot of problems in our Education System. Indian government recognizes that the new global scenario poses unrivalled challenges for the higher education system.

           The UGC stated that a whole range of skills will be demanded from the graduates of commerce, humanities, natural sciences and social science, as well as from the various professional disciplines such as hospitality, tourism, agriculture, law, management, medicine or engineering. There are many basic problems faced by higher education system in India.

          The above discussion highlights the necessity of enhancing educational opportunities in India both for growth prospects and breaking the vicious circle of poverty. In order to provide education to the large number of young people of India, educational institutions should be increased in a large scale. Recently, the Indian Government has passed the Right to Education Act. It means that the government will provide free and universal primary education to all children of 6-14 years age group. To meet the enhanced demand from universal primary and upper primary education, the school infrastructure will be multiplied in many folds. A large number of teachers have to be recruited to make the schools are functioning. It is estimated that more than 2.5 million teachers will be recruited.

              In view of non-availability of sufficient trained teachers, many of untrained and under-qualified teachers may be recruited. Exactly at this juncture the Distance Education Institutions will play a significant role by providing educational opportunities to such untrained and under –qualified teachers to improve their educational qualifications. The Govemment of India is spending on education about 3 percent of its Gross Domestic Product. It has been promising to enhance this share to 6percent since very long time. The 1991 policy of economic reforms of Liberalization and privatization influenced the government to reduce investment, particularly on social sectors like education .Out of this 3 percent; just 0.8percent is being spent on higher education. The rest goes for primary and secondary education. With small budget allotment, it is impossible to establish 1500 universities in near future. Mean while, the Distance Education Mode may be helpful in extending the higher education opportunities before the required formal institutions are established. The Distance Education Institutions will operate by utilizing the idle capacity of existing formal educational institutions to the maximum extent possible. They organize instruction on week-ends, holidays and vacations without affecting the functioning of regular ones.

                   This paper makes an attempt to examine the major characteristics of higher education in India and identified the weakness of the formal system.  It focuses attention on the emergence of Distance education and its present status and suggest ways and means for better functioning of the distance education to reach as many as needy people by providing better services.


Higher Education, Distance Education, Challenges and Prospects in India

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