Role of Distance Education to Impart the Higher Education in Assam

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Role of Distance Education to Impart the Higher Education in Assam A case study of IDOL (Gauhati University) in Sonitpur District

Manoj Kumar Hazarika, Assistant Professor, Department of Commerce, & Daisy Rani Kalita, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Darrang College, Tezpur

Abstract: Overall development and growth of a nation is based on educational system of the nation. Higher education imparts in-depth knowledge and understanding to expose new edge of knowledge in different fields. It plays a key role to human resource development (HRD) of a nation. In present competitive world only the higher education provides qualified and trained human resource to keep pace with the fast changing world. The higher education scenario in India is below the expectation and always creates to a pressure on the government to establish more and more colleges and universities. Distance and open learning is an alternative to overcome the public demand and it is a massive way to reach the un-reach. The main objective of the paper is to analyse the role of distance education to impart the higher education in Sonitpur district in particular and in Assam in general. Implementation of semester system in under graduate level in Assam creates several problems such as a huge enrollment pressure, maintenance student-teacher ratio, physical-infrastructure etc. Introduction of distance and open learning system with various tools like counseling programmes, on-line class room facilities, comprehensive study-materials etc, makes the education system cost effective and provides education in the door steps of the stakeholders.

Key-words: Higher Education, Distance Education, IDOL

Introduction:
Overall development and growth of a nation is based on its educational system and it shows the true picture of the people of the nation. Higher education imparts in-depth knowledge and understanding to expose new edge of knowledge in different fields of commerce, economics, science and technology etc. It helps to develop confidence in individual as well as community about their own ability and inherent strengths, which helps to shape their lives and fights against oppression, exclusion, discrimination, corruption etc. It is the key to human resource development (HRD) of the nation. In present competitive world, only the higher education provides qualified and trained human resource to keep pace with the fast changing world. If we look to the history of India, education was never in reach of its entire people of the country. Unequal access to education has been rampant in India. There are serious problems of gender, regional, sectoral and caste disparities. A significant number of children continue to drop out due to socio-economic and cultural factors and lack of adequate infrastructure. It is not easy to overcome the situation by establishing new educational institutions, since the establishment cost is very high. Distance and open learning is an alternative way to overcome the public demand for higher education and it is a massive way to reach the un-reach. Distance education plays a crucial role in the economic development of a nation by providing human resource as per the requirement. This system of education can cater education to all without any barrier. Conceptual Framework of Distance Education:

The term Distance Education has been applied to a tremendous variety of programmes serving numerous audiences via a wide variety of media. American Council of Education (ACE) defined Distance Education as a system and a process of connecting learners with distributed learning resources. Desmond Keegan (1995) provides another definition.   He states that distance education and training result from the technological separation of teacher and learner which frees the student from the necessity of traveling to “a fixed place, at a fixed time, to meet a fixed person, in order to be trained” (p. 7).  Greenberg (1998)...
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