Distance no bar
Distance education is no longer the country cousin. Even the high and mighty go for it these days. R. Ravikanth Reddy sums up the pluses of BRAOU, the first open university in the country
COVERING LOST GROUND: Distance education brings learning to the doorstep of the seekers. Photo: K. ANANTHAN
There are two types of education... One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live - John Adams
It is never too late to study either to make a living or just learn to live life fully.
Distance education has come as a boon to people who want to use education as a means to make a living and also for those who want to use the knowledge to `live'.
With no restrictions either on the age or place, it has revolutionised education bringing the best to the doorsteps of the seekers.
No wonder, the number of people preferring to pursue education through distance mode has seen a sharp rise over the years for the simple reason that it is easily available, reachable and affordable.
The wonderful feeling of getting a degree sitting in the cool confines of home is further driving the semi-educated and uneducated to catch up with the lost opportunity.
And providing platform for fulfilling the curtailed desires is the Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University - the first Open University to be set up in the country.
With 189 study centres throughout Andhra Pradesh, it is offering courses in the conventional subjects to the job-oriented ones and at various levels - certificate, diploma, graduation, post graduation, M. Phil and Ph.D.
If anyone thinks the degrees are inferior compared to conventional universities, they are mistaken.
For instance go through the students list of the University. It includes Pendyala Harikrishna, World Junior Chess Champion, G. Jwala, International Badminton player and Ambati Rayudu, who is making waves in India Under-19 cricket.
Recognised by all
Those who missed out schooling for any reason can directly study bachelor's degree in arts and humanities while there are many opportunities for those who discontinued after Intermediate.
These degrees are recognised by all Universities and one can study P.G. programmes in other Universities.
The University constantly adds new courses based on the market demand.
Admission requirement and eligibility criteria differ for each programme.
Those without schooling have to write an entrance test while an Intermediate pass can get admitted directly into B.A., B.Com or B.Sc course.
However, the University has introduced several P.G. programmes and certificate and diploma courses for those who want to further their academic interest or grow in their profession.
There is a course for every professional and importantly these can be pursued even while working.
Admission notification for programmes offered in the academic year cycle (July) comes out in May while for admissions made in January the notification comes in October.
One can check the details of the latest programmes and notifications on www.braou.ac.in.
Degrees with a difference
To make "Learning while Earning" possible, the BRAOU has entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with several reputed institutions like NIIT and ICRISAT for courses in Information Technology and Computer and extension education in Agriculture.
The University has also entered into MoU with Dr. Reddy's Lab for education on Pharmaceutical Sciences (Drug Science and Drug Technology), SETWIN for skill development and vocational training, CESS for research programmes in M.Phil and Ph.D in development studies and with LWRIL OF Apollo Hospitals for offering three PG Diploma courses in Preventive and Promotive Health Care, Holistic Health and Wellness management.
The University is recognised by South Asian Foundation for Learning Institutions (SAFLI) every year, that offers about 500 fellowships worth
$100 to the PG students of non-professional programmes of M.A, M.Com and M.Sc of the University.
The University has also been offering research programmes like M.Phil in Development studies, Ph.D in Development studies and Ph.D. in Open Distance Education.
The Master's programmes include M.A. (History) in Telugu medium, M.A. (Economics), M.A. (Political Science), M.A. (Public Administration), M.A. (Sociology), M.A. (English), M.Sc Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and M.Com. There are various Post Graduate programmes like PG Diploma in Marketing Management, Business Finance, Writing for Mass Media in Telugu, Environmental Studies, Human Rights and Women's Studies.
The University also offers Master's Degree in Business Administration, Library and Information Science, Bachelor's Degree in Library and Information Science, Public Relations and Bachelor of Hotel Management.
In the Bachelor's Degree programmes, the courses offered are -- Bachelor of Arts (Telugu, English and Urdu medium), Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science (Special Degree programme in Drug Sciences).
"Some of the programmes offered by the University at the Bachelor's level, Post Bachelor's level and Diploma programmes are professional and employment oriented.
A large number of university students who have obtained Degrees/Diplomas are placed in good position in most of the reputed corporate offices," says the University Registrar, Dr. Ghanta Chakrapani.
Mr. Chakrapani said that out of the 98,000 students enrolled for entrance examination this year, 86,000 have qualified and admissions are on.
"We are also entering MoU with multinational companies like GE also which will help those who want to learn while earn " he said.
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