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Growth of distance education in India may be examined at the school and the tertiary levels :

School Level

3.1 India made an early start in the use of radio in schools. Radio has been in use since the early fifties as supplement to the regular curriculum. Television has been used for educational purposes right from its introduction in 1959. A significant development in the area of educational television in India was the launching of the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) which provided access for several villages in six states to specially prerecorded television programmes. These television lessons devoted for primary education were supplemented by face to face instruction by teachers.

3.2 The INSAT programme followed SITE and now provides educational programmes to primary school children as well as area specific programmes for rural viewers in selected clusters in a few states.

3.3 Correspondence courses at secondary level was started in 1965 when the CABE recommended such courses with the objective of improving the academic standards of private students. The Board of Secondary Education, Madhya Pradesh was the first to start correspondence courses in 1965. This is now referred to as the M.P. Open School. The Patrachar Vidyalaya, Delhi was established started in 1968. The Boards of Secondary Education, Rajasthan, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh are the other institution offering correspondence education at secondary and higher secondary levels.

3.4 The first open school was established in New Delhi in 1979 in order to provide distance education to school drop outs enabling them to enrol for the secondary course (Class X). The open school started offering senior secondary courses (class XII) in September, 1988. In November 1989, this institution was upgraded to the' National Open School (NOS), an autonomous institution of the Central Government with the objective of providing relevant, continuing and developmental education to prioritised client groups as an alternative to the formal system. The states of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh have also established Open Schools recently. Maharashtra is in the process of establishing an Open School.


3.5 In 1985 the enrolment at the Secondary and Senior Secondary stage through correspondence was 62,962 which was just 0.31% of the total enrolment at that stage. The situation has improved considerably since the establishment of the National Open School which enrols about 50,000 students annually.