Distance Education Institute!!! Look before You Leap!

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It’s no more rocket science to understand the reasons behind growing popularity of Distance Education mode. With technology bridging all gaps, the courses on offer through this mode are better than regular institutes since they impart practical skills and also allows a student the freedom to work while on the course. But the more the success, the more the dangers surface albeit of a different nature. And I am not talking about the premier institutes like Sikkim Manipal or IGNOU. With the increasing popularity of distance education mode more and more institutions in this field are coming up full of promises and fancy course names. Whether they deliver is another issue altogether. That’s why it’s very important that students do a thorough background check on institutes to authenticate their validity. I remember an article a few days back in a leading national daily on one such institute. Upon research a student had found that the institute had its offices in a garage in Punjab managed by 4 crooks laundering money in the name of admissions. Money, time, institute and the degree are all precious. It can make or break your career. So here are a few pointers that you should follow before you take the plunge on a new institute: • Make sure that the institution is recognized by a university or UGC • Go to the institute’s website and check the details like approvals, recognitions, contact numbers etc and call up the numbers to authenticate their validity • Go to UGC website or the corresponding university website to see if this institute features in their list of affiliated places • Institutions that do not have a website of their own is a strict no-no • All courses offered should be validated by the Distance Educational Council (DEC). The institute may just have one course authenticated but may be offering many more • It’s better if the institute you are interested in is a member of Association of Indian Universities (AIU). You can get the details from AIU site • If possible visit the place where the institute says its headquartered • If visiting physically is not a valid option, then at least make sure you do a Google Earth search to locate the place and find out. If its a institute it will be visible • Ask your friends, relatives or ask on Facebook or even a web portal about this institute and if anybody has heard about the same • If its been a institute since some time, try and get hold of an alumni who have passed out to know future job prospects and the nature of education provided • Do not stick to just one of the above guidelines, its recommended you check all • Last but not the least, it’s always better to go with the established and the reputed especially when they are the leaders in the field.

SMUDE (talk)23:00, 3 June 2010