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Distance learning - a last resort for Delhi students!

Sunday July 03, 2011 03:59:44 PM, Antarik Anwesan, IANS

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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 colleges.

SOL, which receives over 300,000 applications annually, offers courses in humanities and commerce streams through distance learning programmes.

"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 learning.

"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 weekends.

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 added.

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 channel.

Parents of students are also supportive of their wards taking up these courses.

"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 Sanskrit.

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 course."

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 out.

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









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