Quality Education to Underprivileged through Change Management in Open Distance Learning(ODL) within Dual Mode University: A Story of School of Open Learning (SOL), University of Delhi (DU)

Pokhriyal, H C
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Corporate Author

SOL was established in 1962 as India’s first effective ODL initiative to impart inclusive and cost effective quality higher education within a dual mode institutional framework of Delhi University. The paper, as SOL’s case study, is significant due to institution’s crucial position within India’s public policies that aim to augment existing enrolment rate in higher education from 18% to 30% in 2020. Almost 400,000 students (reflecting ‘demographic dividend’ in itself) choose to enroll at SOL to study in India’s best university. We examine the implementation of institutional development at SOL that entails a paradigm shift marked by change management and e-governance, which will help other countries facing similar issues. We explain how correspondence mode facing governance challenges, is being converted into Information & Communication Technology (ICT) based teaching-learning systems. Although statutory framework in DU establishes academic architectures for quality education under ODL, it is at implementation level that ODL is crammed between institutional neglect and attitudinal apathy from the top and lack of responsive administration and resistance to change at the bottom. Due to limited intake in ‘conventional system’ and issues relating academic quality flooding the ‘open universities’, students prefer ODL under dual mode universities. It has been learnt that for change inducement in a government organization, appropriate technical interventions must be introduced incrementally, monitored effectively and diffused systematically upto pyramid’s base. An effective delivery of knowledge and skills through multiple methods like radio network, mobile telephones, interactive website, self-learning material and face-to-face teaching-learning offer a pedagogical enabling environment. The challenges addressed in institution building are not only concerned with transforming manual systems into ICT enabled processes, but also in deepening work-culture along with ensuring routine that is responsive towards marginalized students and facilitates learning environment in an organization otherwise overloaded with inherited bottlenecks. Improving institutional governance by ensuring instant student support services, ICT based learning processes and grievance redress mechanism has resulted, both qualitatively & quantitatively, into positive externalities. The story of SOL intends to define futuristic business processes within ODL by way of reforms, focused on professional ethics, through motivation, team building, leadership training and translating quality agendas into action. Notably, change management concerns more with governance than technology. It is about designing an integrated strategy, initiating major transformation and empowering the underprivileged through ODL. Participatory governance, that weaves together administrative, academic and technical components, within a dual mode framework, is the way-forward for convergence based quality education. // Paper ID: 99

Distance Education (Dual Mode),Change Management,Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Institutional Development