Student Enrollment in Universities: Regular Vs Distance Education

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Shikha Anand
Manager - Content
Updated on Jun 16, 2017 17:05 IST

Source: AISHE Report, 2015-16

Distance education is fast becoming a popular option for students seeking admission in courses offered at different universities. The main reasons behind this shift being flexibility of place, time, and study schedule offered by this mode of education. Many students staying in far-off and remote areas consider distance learning to be a useful medium to obtain degrees.

Many working professionals who face time crunch also tend to incline towards obtaining degrees/diplomas through distance education in order to make their CVs more powerful. As per AISHE report, 2015-16, student enrollment in distance education courses constituted a total of 11.05% of the total enrollment in higher education.

  Out of the total number of students enrolling in universities through distance education mode, 46.3% are females.  

While higher education is the key to one’s advancement, it becomes all the more critical to select the right form of learning at the time of college education. Therefore, given below are some statistics and a comparative view on distance and regular education that can help you make the right decision.

Regular vs Distance Education

While there has been a constant debate regarding the worth of distance education, considering the graph (given above) and the table (given below), it would not be wrong to say that distance learning is gradually replacing the traditional way of classroom education particularly at UG and PG levels.

Student Enrollment Percentage in 2015-16 as per AISHE Report


Regular Mode

Distance Mode







PG Diploma









In the above table, it is evident that in 2015-16, student enrollment through distance education mode was more at UG, PG, and Certificate levels. The data clearly indicates the growing popularity of distance education courses among students. However, it may be noted that at all levels of higher education (except Certificate level), enrollment of male students is higher than females.

Distance Education: State-wise variation

In India, almost every state has its own open university(s) offering distance education courses to students at different levels such as UG, PG, PG Diploma, Diploma, Certificate, Integrated, MPhil, and PhD. As per the data available in AISHE report 2015-16, in India there is one Central Open University, 13 State Open Universities, and one State Private Open University. Apart from that, there are also 118 Dual Mode Universities which offer education through distance as well as regular mode. It may be noted that among all states, Tamil Nadu contains the maximum number of Dual Mode Universities which is 19. Also, Jharkhand contains neither any Open University nor Dual Mode University to offer distance learning courses to students.

Check UGC Approved Distance Education Courses & Universities

As per AISHE report 2015-16, among all states, 63% of the total students enrolled through distance education mode are present in the top six states itself. These top states as per the report include Delhi with 16.7% student enrollments, Maharashtra with 16.5% student enrollments as well as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh which have recorded student enrollment to be 12.3% and 8.3% respectively. On the other hand, both West Bengal and Telangana have 4.9% students enrolled in distance learning mode.

Considering the above data and graph it is expected that the inclination of students towards obtaining higher education through distance mode will increase in coming years. Also, as the capacity to deliver high quality distance education through mediums such as broadcasting, telecasting, internet, and seminars increases, the debate regarding which is the better mode of education (regular vs distance) is likely to heat up in future.

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About the Author
Shikha Anand
Manager - Content

With a huge appetite for scrumptious food, Shikha is a big foodie and enjoys watching movies the most. Shopping is not really her cup of tea but her favourite pastime is spending quality time with friends and family... Read Full Bio


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