VIJAYAWADA: Distance education is gaining in popularity for its affordability and flexibility. A sizeable chunk of people, who cannot pay for on-campus education, prefer distance learning system. In Krishna district, the most familiar universities like Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Andhra University (AU), Acharya Nagarjuna University (ANU) and GITAM University are offering many professional and non-professional courses through the regional centres.
IGNOU regional centre director Dr V Venugopal Reddy said that the university is offering more than 124 Under-Graduate (UG), Post-Graduate (PG) and Diploma courses. In Krishna district, there are 14 regional centres with five in Vijayawada city alone. “The fee for these courses is between `4,000 and `30,000, basing on the course. Apart from this fee, we collect `60 per paper at the time of examinations,” he added.
Every year, the notification for distance education is released in two cycles. There was a gradual increase in the number of applications every year. “When compared to the previous years, the number of students applying for IGNOU courses in the district has increased by 15 per cent. This year, 1,600 applications have been received while the number was 1,200 last year. Among all the courses, B.Com Accounts and Finance is much in demand with 600 applications being received for this course alone,” Venugopal Reddy added.
IGNOU has introduced five new PG courses in Social Work, Non-Government Organisation Management, Counselling and Family Therapy, PG Diploma in Urban Development and Planning and Diploma in Dairy Technology.
Students prefer IGNOU courses mainly for the options they are giving in writing the final examinations. Unlike other universities, IGNOU offers the candidates to appear for the examinations in any of the regional centre in the country.
Dr D Rama Rao, director, ANU regional centre at Prabhas Degree College, said that ANU is offering nearly 100 courses to the students. In Krishna district, we had received more than 18,000 applications this year, an increase of 25 per cent when compared to the previous year.
“There is a great demand for BA courses as we are offering them with or without Intermediate qualification. Those who do not have any educational qualification can also pursue BA courses in the distance mode after clearing the entrance test,” he added.
There are four regional centres in the city and nearly in Krishna district. They collect fee ranging from `2,500 to `10,000 which includes the examination fee and the cost of study material.
In addition to regular contact classes for students in the distance education mode, many universities have also adopted the online instruction medium. GITAM University is offering online and offline MBA course through distance mode. In Krishna district alone, it has 30 centres which offer more than 30 UG and PG courses.
Distance learning courses are also a bonus for working professionals seeking to add to their educational qualifications without compromising on their job.
J Jithendra, who opted to pursue his MBA through the distance education mode in ANU while working for the ‘First Source Company’ in the city, said, “Regular college education can cost up to seven times more than the distance education. The flexibility in distance mode is helping me to continue my job while doing MBA.”
Many students are also interested in acquiring PG Diploma through distance mode from a recognised university along with their regular PG course in regular mode.
J Sagar, an M.Sc student at Andhra Loyola College is also pursuing a PG diploma at IGNOU through distance mode. He said, “The mobility in distance mode is of great help to me in acquiring two PG degrees at a time.”
AFFORDABLE, FLEXIBLE COURSES
IGNOU offering 124 courses
IGNOU has 14 regional centres in Krishna district and five of them are located in Vijayawada alone
Free for IGNOU courses ranges between Rs 4,000 and Rs 30,000. Apart from this fee, they collect `60 per paper at the time of examinations.
When compared to the previous years, the number of students, who have applied for IGNOU courses in Krishna district this year, has increased by 15 per cent.
ANU received more than 18,000 applications in Krishna district this year, a 25 per cent increase over the last year’s figure
There are four regional centers for ANU in the city and nearly 60 in Krishna district. They collect fee ranging from Rs 2,500 to 10,000.