New Delhi: At a time
when Delhi University (DU) colleges have put up high cut-offs for
admission, its School of Open Learning (SOL) that offers distance
learning courses is swamped with applications - emerging as a ray
of hope for students who do not meet the high criteria of the
SOL, which receives over 300,000 applications annually, offers
courses in humanities and commerce streams through distance
"Students who find it difficult to clear the cut-offs of DU and
still want the university's tag are coming for the courses here,"
SOL assistant registrar S.K. Lamba told IANS.
"Some students these days want to learn and earn at the same time;
so they join SOL," he added.
Many of the students joining SOL are able to pursue a vocational
course as well as a course of their choice through distance
"I am from a government school, and got 50 percent in Class 12
boards, which means no DU college. Finally, I have applied to SOL
for a B.A. course," said Fatima Hashmi, an applicant at SOL.
The USP of the distance learning school is that students do not
have to attend classes compulsorily which take place only on
Students who have taken up professional courses like chartered
accountancy come for distance learning courses as they don't have
to attend classes at SOL and are thus able to devote time to both.
"I want to appear for the chartered accountancy test in December.
If I get through it, I won't have time to attend classes at two
places simultaneously," said Swati Vij, an applicant.
"SOL will give me a degree and I will also have the DU tag," she
The School offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in
arts and commerce subjects. Printed course material is distributed
to the students and the fees is, like all DU colleges, very low.
"People who want to shuttle between work and studies find this the
place to be in," said Yogesh Chopra, who applied for a master's
degree in Political Science and works as a reporter with a news
Parents of students are also supportive of their wards taking up
"My daughter wanted to take up a job while pursuing her
post-graduate studies. So she wanted a correspondence course and I
thought this was the best option for her," said Harvinder Singh,
father of Nimrit Kaur who applied for a master's degree in
Age is no bar at SOL. The institution gets many applications from
people who left studies long ago.
Deepa Sareen, a home-maker from west Delhi's Rajouri Garden, has
joined SOL. "Due to family pressures, I discontinued my studies
after graduation. Now that I am settled and my children are in
secondary school, I have time and can take up M.A. Sanskrit
The institution had 900 students when it started in 1962. The
number reached several hundreds of thousands last year.
"The huge number of candidates is because of the fact that there
are not enough number of seats and colleges in the country that
can accommodate the growing number of students," Lamba pointed
SOL follows the policy of granting admission to all applicants if
they have scored the minimum marks - which is 40 percent.
Delhi University was established in 1962. It has 16 faculties, 86
academic departments, 77 colleges and five other recognised
institutes spread all over the city.
(Antarik Anwesan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)