In the West, there are many Open Universities. Such universities have produced very good results in the field of higher education. They have become very popular with the people.
The concept of distance education is a good alternative to the heavily strained formal system. The pressure in the field of higher education is increasing. The number of students entering our universities has been rising at an average rate, of seven per cent a year. At present, more than thirty universities are offering correspondence courses. The present trend is to start Open Universities. These universities give an opportunity to all people who are not in a position to go to college or university to acquire’ degrees. They are very convenient for the disadvantaged groups, living in remote areas and those who are employed. They enable students to pursue their, education at their convenience, without relying on rigid daily schedules and the constraint of attendance in classrooms. The number of students seeking admission to these universities will increase, as the efforts to attain universalisation of primary education bear fruit.
The credit for starting the first Open University in India goes to Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the nine states considered educationally backward. The governments of Maharashtra and Bihar have set up an. Open University each in the states. The government of Kerala also wants to starts an Open University.
The Government of India has already started a national Open University named after Mrs. Indira Gandhi. Introducing Indira Gandhi National Open University bill in the Rajya Sabha on the 5th August 1985, the Union Minister for Education said that, “This new university would open an important era in educational technology and a model method of teaching different courses to the poor”. The Open University gives sufficient flexibility in academic matters.
The Open University in Andhra Pradesh offers a wide of choice of subjects and students are permitted to take any examination in any, or all the subjects at any time. Some of the subjects have a vocational slant. Degree course in Nursing, Tourism, post-graduate course in Business Administration, etc. have been started by Indira Gandhi Open University. A large number of people join this university every year. The activities of this university have been expanded lately. This institution has become very popular with the people.
The Open University has a multimedia approach to instruction. The students have to make use of the radio, the television, video-cassettes, and computers, in addition to books. The study-centres, located at places convenient for the student, serve as a storehouse of knowledge.
The authorities of the Open Universities take steps to conduct periodic discussions and seminars on difficult and important topics. It will be convenient for the students if such discussions and seminars are held during vacation periods. Then those who are employed need not avail of any leave.
The Open Universities in our country produce good results in the field of higher education. We hope those who acquire degrees from these universities will help to raise the intellectual tone of society and this is-what is expected of a person who has received university education.