Aryadeva scholar of Nalanda

The Jewels of Indian Distance Education


India has a long, beautiful history of education that appears almost mythical.  Ancient India possessed a reputation that rivaled its contemporary, ancient Egypt.  Nalanda, the monastery (and university, according to scholars), attracted scholars from all over the world who traveled from as far as China and Korea to study at the campus of Nalanda.

There is also the traditional method of study and instruction that utilizes the Gurukula system, which employs village scholars to shape young minds. Eager students apply for instruction from a guru and if accepted, the guru shares their vast knowledge across subjects with the student.

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This rich history serves as the foundation for progressive education models and strategies.  It has positioned India as one of the best sources of a quality distance (or traditional) education. IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) are internationally recognized as the “Harvard” or “MIT” of India.  Whether IIT is superior to MIT is often the subject of debates.

One major thing that separates the two is the fact that people who get into MIT do so as a result of many factors, which includes who they know, who their relatives are, and how much money they have.  People who get into IIT do so as a result of meeting high academic standards.



The results of leading institutions like IIT have been that Indians are a devastating global and industrial force.  Indians are the lifeblood of America’s silicon valley.  Indians dominate southeast Asia with ownership and management of a large portion of the largest organizations within each nation. Indians also have a strong presence throughout Europe and west Asia.

This is by design rather than a simple product.  Indian institutions have the explicit goal of developing world leaders and the minds that push nations forward.  This has resulted in the Indian educational system having a competitive image worldwide.  Indian graduates are some of the most sought after talent in the world.


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Indian institutions have built their reputation and developed talent through progressive thought and strategies.  It has naturally resulted in institutions adopting distance education models.  Institutions like IIT and NIT are no exception.  These institutions value and respect the community and the pursuit of education.

They also understand that education of the future demands new models and more rigorous methods that will only be provided via distance education.

Here is the list of the best universities in India that offer distance education programs:

  1. Indira Gandhi National Open University
  2. Yashwantrao C. Maharashtra Open University
  3. IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute
  4. Sikkim Manipal University
  5. Symbiosis Center for Distance Learning
  6. MP Bhoj (Open) University
  7. Dr. BR Ambedkar Open University
  8. Netaji Subhas Open University
  9. University of Mumbai (IDOL)
  10. Maharshi Dayanand University (DDE)

The rankings above were determined basis student assessment from various colleges.  A variety of categories were chosen to rank the colleges, namely placement, quality of study materials, schedule of classes, access to university professors etc.

Robust distance education programs have grown out of the rich education foundation of India into a beautiful crop that more and more people are now harvesting.  This is happening for many reasons and the advantages as a result of choosing competitive programs are numerous.

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Some of the many advantages of these distance education programs are flexibility, convenience, vast options, inexpensive tuition, easy access, low education-associated expenses, the ability to work full-time while studying, the ability to easily connect with other students or your professor, and the ability to study in an adult manner.

In words of Kartikeya Sharma of India News “A quality education can be accessed anytime and anywhere, and should be accessible anytime and anywhere”.  Not only does distance education broadens the scope, it also presents the student with a wide variety of options because of programs, especially high-quality distance education programs, offers students a wide selection of supplements.

Tuition is lower for these programs because of the lower overhead (e.g., facility, taxes, utilities, materials, and etc.).  Though students actually receive more materials and more attention, they receive these items at a lower cost because the funds that would normally be spent on things like a physical classroom are spent instead on things that have more value to the student.

These programs are particularly valued by professionals, who not only want to continue developing their career, but also want to enhance their professional skills to remain competitive, advance, and develop their talent.  Another wonderful aspect of these programs is that the student is making a statement about how much they value education.

It is quite common for students to view college as an opportunity to avoid adulthood, to not take their life seriously, and to cheat their way to a credential. These students do not find distance education programs attractive.

Distance programs are for mature students that are independent, self-motivated, and who value knowledge and training.  Many distance education programs also have features that prevent cheating, and those features are constantly being refined.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of distance education programs is that they are more dynamic and liberal than traditional programs.  Traditional programs are a part of the traditional design and system of universities, and as a result, they are held to archaic standards which support the old model.  The problems associated with the traditional model are almost totally absent with distance education, which allows educators to focus more on education, and less on politics or business.

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The future of the sea of distance education is so bright and vast that it cannot be articulated.  Only a few decades ago, no one could have imagined what is possible today.  It is hard to envision how the technology will advance in just a few more decades.  Emerging technologies will continue to rapidly expand how distance education is performed and defined.

Research data will also shape the future of distance education.  In other eras, there was little research in this area, primarily because it challenged established institutions, and the technology of the time did not effectively and fully support the vision of what it could be, however, distance education is no longer a sapling.

There is a stronger partnership between data, industry, and development, courtesy of the many advances of the last few decades.  Those partnerships will become even more sophisticated in the coming decades, and the market will become more competitive.  Competition is no longer regional, and every entity in existence will be fighting to deliver a better option.


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