With its rapidly growing economy and infrastructure, India has proven to be an attractive investment opportunity from many foreign parties, not to mention the increase in employment opportunities that are now presented to the youth populace. With its vast population of roughly around 121 billion people and growing, India is a nation hungry for opportunities and newer avenues. Around 50% of this populace consists of the population below the age of 25 years and this presents a major challenge to the education system prevailing within the country. This is where the whole ideology of distance education comes in.
Now one might be interested to know the whole concept behind distance education. Distance education basically refers to a learning system where the actual physical presence of the student does not provide any barriers to access knowledge. Most distance education courses are carried out through written or virtual mediums with the instructor being located in a completely different location. Distance education helps to bring down the concept of geographical isolation when it comes to education. Now it’s possible for students residing even in remote locations to get access to top-notch educational material. It is also of great use for those who are riddled with work responsibilities but still harbour the need for a particular course.
The history of distance education can be traced back to the early 1800s in the European continent. The earliest courses involved pre-designed course materials that would be delivered to the recipients home via the postal system. This helped students overcome the geographical barriers and often helped to compensate for the expenses that a university and boarding incurred. These earliest forms of distance learning were termed as “correspondence courses”. Over time the postal way of delivering course contents was replaced by virtual classrooms and study materials is easily available and accessible on the internet.
In India, distance education has recently observed an increase in demand. Apart from the Indira Gandhi National Open University and 13 other state universities, many private educational institutions have now begun introducing multiple distance learning programs and courses. Some of the most popular choices for distance learning in India is as follows: Yashwantrao C Maharashtra Open University, IMT Distance and Open Learning Institute (Ghaziabad), Sikkim Manipal University (Gangtok), Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning, MP Bhoj Open University, Dr. BR Ambedkar Open University, Netaji Subhas Open University, University of Mumbai, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, University of Delhi, Annamalai University, Karnataka State Open University, Acharya Nagarjuna University (Guntur), The ICFAI University Sikkim, Osmania University, Alagappa University, Shivaji University, The ICFAI University Tripura, SNDT Women’s University, Himachal Pradesh University, Tamil Nadu Open University, University of Madras, Andhra University, Madurai Kamaraj University, Vardhaman Mahaveer Open University (Kota), Uttarakhand Open University, Nalanda Open University, Kurukshetra University, University of Calicut and Patna University to mention a few.
Not only do the students have a wide array of universities offering distance learning in India, but the choice of courses and contents have also evolved over time to produce enriching contents for the students.

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