Popularity of distance education growing by leaps and bounds

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Kolkata, Sep 22 (UNI) The popularity of distance education in India has been increasing with more than two million students enrolling in distance education programmes in 2005, according to a UGC report.

The Punjab Technical University (PTU), which has got approval from the Distance Education Council and AICTE and has more than 750 learning centres throughout the country, has set up a centre here to cater to the needs of West Bengal and NE states.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, PTU Director of Operations Ajesh Gugnani said, ''The number of students enrolling in correspondence courses is estimated to increase to four million over the next five years, registering almost 300 per cent growth, as it provides a highly effective alternative medium of education with comparatively lower costs.'' He said distance education was the preferred medium in the US universities with more than 66 per cent students opting for correspondence courses and only 33 per cent going for the regular courses while in India, the figures were reversed.

However, this scenario was now changing, which was proved by the fact that while in 2001, there were only 15 authorised centres in India offering distance education, it had increased to 70 in 2007, he added.

PTU Regional Manager Gautam Banerjee, who was also present on the occasion, claimed that there was no difference in the quality and content of the course material and syllabus offered by the distance education centres as compared to the regular courses.

However, the students must carefully verify whether the learning centres had received proper acknowledgement and approval from the concerned government bodies before enrolling, he added.

UNI

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