An Investigation into The Indian Open University Distance Learners' Academic Self-Concept, Study Habits and Attitude Towards Distance Education: A Case Study at the Indira Gandhi National Open University In India

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF1 // The Constitution of India provides for equal educational opportunities for all. However, the goals envisaged in terms of overall coverage, equitable distribution and quality of education are still very distant in all stages of education. The disparities among male-female, rural-urban and region to region are especially higher and significant in higher education. // The success rate of the efforts towards overcoming these disparities has rather been low. Consequently we could not achieve anything notable during the past five decades. In view of the fact that the world today is experiencing unprecedented changes spurred by the revolution in the information technology, rapidly increasing international trade, the newly emerging global economy envisages the need for trained manpower through higher and professional education. The Government of India has expressed its commitment to promote education in a planned manner. The task, however, is daunting. Almost half of our population does not enjoy access to even basic education. The situation is really pathetic. // Formal system of education has, in general, two constraints. One is spatial and the other is temporal. Education takes place within the campus and in classrooms and laboratories. It is confined to the earlier period of one's life generally from 6 to 25 years of one's age. In the era of continuing and life long education a new class of learners has emerged and for them education does not terminate at the end of formal schooling. It is a life long process, which covers the entire life span of an individual. So we need today a system that helps transcend these limits of formal system and satisfy the learners immediate and long term needs. Distance education provides the answer to such situations. It has a prominent role to play for education of the people with focus on the human resource development. In India, we have at present eight open universities including one National open university and more than fifty directorates of distance education/ correspondence education attached with the conventional universities imparting education through distance mode mainly at the tertiary level. Besides these, there are twelve open schools including one National open school imparting education up to senior secondary level through distance mode. //