Open University : A new way of empowering higher education in India?

Education should be limitless, it should not be limited by various restrictions. It should be available to people coming from all walks of life. The government tried out various different methods, to educate the underprivileged and deserving candidates in our country. Open University is a university which opts for an open door academic policy. This policy has no or very minimal requirements for their entry. The university offers a distance mode of studying , so students will not have to travel to a particular location of the university. The important aspect of this mode of studying , is that  it offers everyone an equal opportunity to study,  and improve their abilities to the maximum. 

History and development of open universities in India 

Earlier the education system in India was very formal and rigid. The only way of teaching and learning was the “Gurukul” system , in this system the students stayed in the teachers home and studied, the drawback of this system was that  it only permitted  the Brahmins and Kshatriyas to study. Later open learning was introduced and Eklavya was its first learner. The advent of Buddhism and Jainism brought about a new wave in our education system. J.C Stobart , a historian and Educationist advocated the “Wireless University” and the first ever open University was opened in the year 1969 in UK, and India was one of the first countries to follow UK and on 26th August 1982,  the government of Andhra Pradesh opened India’s very first open University called the Andhra Pradesh Open University . This University was later renamed as Dr. B. R Ambedkar Open University. There are at present 13 open universities in our country. This University provides equal opportunity to all the students who were not able to pursue regular courses provided. The government of India had started a national open University in the year 1985 and was called as ‘ Indira Gandhi National Open University’. 

Advantages of distance learning:

  • The admission requirements are zero to minimum, previous academic marks are not required. This is because they follow open door academic policy.
  • They do not follow classroom mode of teaching so it’s a lot more affordable and easy. 
  • Their fee is very affordable, so people who are rich, poor , working or non-working will be able to avail this opportunity.
  • There is no age limit in these universities, so people from all walks of life can pursue their education.
  • Open Universities come under UGC, so all their certificates and degrees are approved by UGC.
  • The study centres act as storehouses of knowledge, and are located at a location convenient to the student.
  • The students can also use radios, TVs and computers in addition to books.


Open University is like a blessing,  to students who haven’t been able to attend regular classes due to various reasons, to students who have scored less marks in their previous academic year, to students who find travelling difficult, due to the location of the university, and to students who would like to pick up from where they left. These universities are very flexible when it comes to their academic matters. Students who have been to Open universities in our country, have fared very well and have raised their intellectual tone in today’s society. Open Universities have become an important instrument, in fulfilling the desires and wishes of the less fortunate.


Vipra Shrivastava, What is an Open University?