New frontiers of higher education

Last Updated 13 October 2010, 13:10 IST

India is known for its large pool of technical manpower. In order to sustain this trend, and to ensure that we do not throw away this key advantage, it is imperative that we continue to produce a critical mass of highly skilled manpower at an accelerated pace. An enabling academic and economic setting is a key factor determining the fate of our nation in the wake of the knowledge sector boom. We need to continue to grow to maintain our competitive edge in skilled manpower.

The country is on a high growth path, which is opening up career opportunities in various new sectors. These industries need trained manpower to cater to their growth. Some of the main segments are banking & financial services, logistics, retail, hospitality, exports and media & entertainment.

There is a need for incorporating specific knowledge and skill components in traditional degrees so that the student can position himself best to grab the new opportunities being created in the economy. Distance education with new information and commu-nication technology promises to expand the frontiers of higher education as never before.

Distance education in India provides a wide range of degree programmes like management, arts, media, mass communication, information technology, commerce, accounting, law, business, finance, marketing which are different level including bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees.

Apart from the traditional degree courses, many professional courses are attracting the attention of the learners. This is evident from the fact that Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA), Bachelor of Mass Communication are some of the degree courses pursued through distance education mode by a large number of people in the country today.

Besides these traditional and professional courses, IGNOU, Sikkim Manipal University Distance Education, Annamalai University and some other Open Universities are offering specialised degree correspondence courses.

The Bachelor of Corporate Secretariat offered by Alagappa University, Institute of Correspondence Education, University of Madras and Pondicherry University, MSc in Dietetics and Food Service Management and BA International Hospitality Administration from IGNOU are noteworthy in this context.

The students’ mindset has also changed over the past few years. With the advent of the internet, and the economy witnessing an unprecedented media boom, students and parents are well informed about multiple education/ training options.

However, students don’t want just a degree, but a significant way through which they can either get a job or enhance their career prospects. They want to make an informed choice. They want to pursue life-long learning by continuously upgrading their skills.

Industry specific domain knowledge and technology skill are the need of the hour. Sectors such as BFSI, retail, and supply chain management require very specialised trade knowledge.

With increasing global-isation and the demand for professionally trained skilled manpower on the rise, the distance education facility provides the right blend of new courses that are sure to open up new career opportunities.

(Published 13 October 2010, 13:10 IST)

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