The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is entrusted with the responsibility of the regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standards in the technical education. “Technical education” is defined as programs of education, research and training in engineering, technology, architecture, town planning, management, pharmacy and applied arts and crafts and such other programs or areas as the Central Government may notify in the Official Gazette. “Technical institution” is defined as an institution, not being a University which offers courses or programs of technical education. AICTE, as a matter of policy, does not allow technical programs through ODL mode, except MBA and MCA. In respect of Technical Education through ODL, it is not clear as to who the regulator – AICTE or DEC is or both. Any institution, including Universities, offering MBA and MCA programs in distance education mode should have the approval of DEC.
Most popular distance learning courses:
ODL students seek value for money. Hence the popularity of courses is dependent on the market forces. Right now management education (MBA) is a clear winner including PG Diploma in Management. MCA is a distant second, but its popularity is on the wane. MA is preferred the least. Other professional courses such as BBA, BCA; degree programs such as BA, B.Com., B.Sc. and PG Program such as M.Sc. are popularly offered in distance mode. Demand for professional degrees through distance mode is on the rise. However the utility of such degrees has to be assessed by the students before deciding to pursue a course. Students should also scrutinize the curriculum and the courseware before deciding to join ODL program. A good number of employers openly advertise that they would not like to recruit students with ODL qualifications. Hence one has to be careful.
For those who are already employed and would like to pursue higher education for career progression, ODL is an attractive avenue. Pursuing higher education through ODL with the blessings of the Company may help them sponsorship for fees and also secure them career advancement. It is important for students to note that one should not pursue both UG and PG degrees in ODL mode. At least one of the degrees should be in regular mode.