- Table of Contents
- What is Open and Distance Learning (ODL)?
- Types of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) for Distance Learning in …
- Types of Distance Learning Programmes Offered in India
- Distance Learning Courses Prohibited in India
- Undergraduate Courses Offered in Distance Mode
- Postgraduate Courses Offered in Distance Mode
- How are Distance Learning Programmes in India Approved and Recognised?
- Mandatory Disclosure on the Website of an HEI
- Top Colleges in India Offering ODL Programmes
- Online Learning in India
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Given the current scenario and the unmatched flexibility that distance learning courses offer, it is no wonder that distance education continues to rise as an alternative approach to traditional education amongst students who are looking to gain another certified skill or qualification.
Today, distance education is no more an unexplored medium. In fact, India has a total of 1,592 recognised Open and Distance Learning (ODL) programmes and more than 40 lakh students enrolled in universities offering ODLPs as per the UGC Annual Report 2017-2018.
With the stigma attached to Indian distance education, prospective students often find themselves in a dilemma over the types of distance learning programmes in the country and their worth. In this article, readers can find all about ODL, types of ODL programmes, undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered in distance mode, how distance learning programmes are recognised in India and so on.
Table of Contents
What is Open and Distance Learning (ODL)?
Launched in 1962 by the Delhi University (DU), ODL was introduced in India as an academic solution to reach out to more students and further democratise the education system. Distance education is a system that primarily focuses on delivering education using correspondence, either virtual or written. Today, “Open Learning and “Distance Education” are used interchangeably. However, the vital difference between the two is that open learning is only a philosophy and distance learning is the mode through which the same is executed.
Types of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) for Distance Learning in India
India has one of the largest distance learning systems in the world with a total of 128 recognised HEIs. Given below are the six types of Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) that are permitted to offer distance learning programmes:
State Open University
Central Open University
Deemed to be University
Types of Distance Learning Programmes Offered in India
All the distance learning programmes in the country are offered in accordance with the objectives of the concerned institution, its national and regional aspirations and norms of the concerned statutory bodies. Listed below are the types of programmes offered in ODL mode:
Distance Learning Courses Prohibited in India
In 2017, the UGC had notified that programmes in the following fields will be banned from being offered in distance/correspondence mode by any HEI:
Read more about streams prohibited from offering distance learning courses in India.
Undergraduate Courses Offered in Distance Mode
Given below are the undergraduate programmes offered in the distance mode by several universities like IGNOU, Chandigarh University, Lingaya's Vidyapeeth, Faridabad, Graphic Era University, Bharti Vidhyapeeth, Pune, etc.:
Name of Course
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
B.A. (Vocational Studies) Tourism Management
Postgraduate Courses Offered in Distance Mode
Listed below are the postgraduate distance learning courses. Apart from them, individuals can also opt for various postgraduate diploma programmes offered in diverse fields by top institutes.
Name of Course
Master of Library & Information Science (M.Lib.)
Master of Anthropology
How are Distance Learning Programmes in India Approved and Recognised?
The Distance Education Bureau (DEB), under the University Grants Commission (UGC), is the regulatory body of distance learning in India. It was set up in 2013 after the Distance Education Council (DEC) was dissolved and UGC was entrusted with all the regulatory functions.
Under DEB, all the HEIs need to undergo a recognition process, after qualifying which they will be considered approved and recognised to offer distance learning programmes. The entire recognition process has been mentioned below.
HEI Eligibility- Offering programmes in ODL mode under the HEI Act is allowed only if the institution has existed for five years and has a NAAC score of at least 3.26.
HEI (other than an Open University) must be offering a similar programme in the traditional model of classroom teaching.
Approval- If the institute is approved by Statutory Bodies under the concerned Act as well as approved by the concerned regulatory authorities.
Quality Assurance- CIQA, learning environment and learner support, programme development and monitoring teaching quality and staff development should be in place.
Academic and Administrative Staff at Headquarters- Head, Assistant Professor, Deputy Registrar, Assistants, Computer Operator, Assistant Registrar, Associate Professor, Section Officer and Multitasking Staff should be readily available.
Program Project Report (PPR) and Self Learning Material- The same should be prepared and approved by statutory bodies.
Mandatory Disclosure on the Website of an HEI
As determined by the DEB, following details shall be available or disclosed on the website of every HEI:
Letters of recognition from the Commission and other relevant regulatory or statutory authorities/bodies.
Programme Details such as Name, Duration, Fee, Eligibility, Structure etc. should be mentioned.
Programme-wise information including syllabus, programme structure with credit points, contact points for counselling, faculty details.
Date sheet for registration, admissions, counselling process, assignments.
Data of year-wise or programme-wise student enrolment and seat intake details.
Information regarding Self Learning Material (SLM) like faculty, date of preparation, references, sources, study material, etc.
List of Examination Centres and Learner Support Centres (LSCs) along with the number of students that appeared at the allotted examination centres.
Period of admission process along with the academic session and schedule of the term-end examinations.
Report on Quality Assurance.
Top Colleges in India Offering ODL Programmes
Given below is the list of the top 10 colleges/universities in India that offer distance learning programme in various fields:
Chandigarh University, Mohali
Graphic Era University, Dehradun
Lingaya's Vidyapeeth, Faridabad
Bharti Vidhyapeeth, Pune
Online Learning in India
In 2018, the UGC had notified that the HEIs can offer the degree, diploma and certificate programmes in online mode. The same should only be under those disciplines in which the institute already offers programmes in ODL or regular (traditional classroom learning) mode.
For online learning programmes, exams are conducted in proctored mode. As of today, there are 37 different recognised online programmes offered by 7 recognised HEIs. The updated list has been mentioned in the table below:
Name and Category of the Institute
Name of the Course
Indira Gandhi National Open University,
New Delhi (Central University)
JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysuru (Deemed to be University)
Post Graduate Diploma in Bioinformatics
Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune (Deemed to be University)
Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy, Thanjavur (Deemed to be University)
Diploma in Sanskrit
Certificate in Digital Marketing
Certificate in Hospital and Healthcare Management
Amity University, Noida (Private University)
B.A. in Tourism Management
B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication
M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication
In order to apply for any of the above-mentioned courses, you may fill out CollegeDekho’s Common Application Form (CAF). In case you have any queries regarding ODLPs, please reach out to us on our QnA zone or call our student helpline number 1800-572-9877 to get in touch with one of our admissions counsellors.