Distance Education

What is Distance Education?

The Distance education is a system of education from a remote. In recent day, it also known as corresponds or distance learning system. Distance education or distance learning is the education of students who are not physically present at a school. Courses that are conducted partly through distance education and partly on-site are referred to as hybrid or blended education.

History of Distance Education

In the year 1728 the concept of distance education was launched in Boston by mailing system. The first distance education course in the modern sense was provided by Sir Isaac Pitman in the 1840s. The University of London was the first university to offer distance learning degrees, establishing its External Programme in 1828. The distance learning programme of University of London become it a a popular university at that time.

Growth and development of distance education in higher studies in India

Distance Education for higher education in India was initiated in the form of Correspondence Courses in 1962, in response to the ever- increasing demand for higher education which could not be met by the conventional system. The Delhi University established a School of Correspondence Courses and Continuing Education in 1962. Encouraged by the success, the Education Commission (1964-66) recommended the expansion of correspondence education for various purposes. Consequently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) formulated guidelines for introducing correspondence courses in Indian Universities. Three more Institutes of Correspondence Studies were established in the late sixties. Twenty one more universities introduced correspondence programmes during the seventies. In the early eighties seven more universities started institutes of cor- respondences studies. At present there are 45 universities including four deemed universities offering correspondence programmes in the country.


In the history of distance education Andhra Pradesh government gave a lead to the country by setting up the Andhra Pradesh Open University (now renamed as Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University) at Hyderabad in 1982. In 1985, the Govt. of India, through an Act of Parliament established the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) which is responsible for determining and maintaining standards of distance education and bringing about coordination among all distance education institutes including the open universities all over the country in addition to functioning as University for open learning and distance education programmes. From just a handful of students in 1962-63 the enrolment in correspondence courses rose to about 65,000 students in 1975-76. During the last fifteen years the annual growth rate of enrolment in open universities and the institutes of correspondence studies attached to conventional universities has been appreciably higher than in the conventional universities and in 1990-91 it was approximately 600,000. The proportion of students enrolled in distance education has steadily increased from 2.6% of the enrolment in higher education in 1975-76 to 11.5% in 1990-91. During 1992-93 the enrolment for distance education programmes was over eight lakhs.

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