“Distance education an important tool to make Indian youth future ready “opines Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, Group Director WeSchool
1. What are the key trends in Distance MBA education over last 3-4 years?
As enrolling to regular courses becomes highly competitive in India; online and distance education have emerged as wonderful alternatives by offering a chance of getting educated even to the less advantaged segment of people living in far-flung pockets in rural India . Distance learning can be availed through various types such as correspondence programs, pocket PC or mobile learning programs, interactive CD-ROM programs, courses via television or radio and many more.
E learning has undoubtedly changed the dynamics of Distance education vis-a-vis its content and pedagogy in India. Some of the key trends in last 3-4 years are Increasing usage of Virtual class room methodology , E-learning content development , standardization of study material, content development process , Increasing dependence on Website and internet as a medium of communication and academics.
2.Where do you think the Distance MBA programmes fit into the unique requirement of Indian companies and market?
With rapid globalization and the cut-throat competition in each industry, it is a necessity for every organization to operate its business in an absolutely professional manner. Management education therefore plays a vital role in bringing professional approach in all aspects of an organization. Class room based education has its inherent limitations of capacity and naturally can’t accommodate a large number of students. Here, Distance Education comes to the rescue to provide opportunities in management education to working executives, who had had to join the industry immediately after their graduation. They can now pursue a MBA Program through distance learning and simultaneously implement those learnings at their work place for benefit of all stake holders.
3. Which Distance MBA programme does your institute offer? What is the number of seats and admission procedure?
WeSchool offers Distance Learning Post-Graduate program of two years duration in Ten specialization areas: (1) Marketing (2) Finance (3) Human Resource (4) Operations (5) Supply Chain (6) E-Business (7) General Management (8) Retail (9) International Business (10) Banking, Investment and Insurance.
There are four batches in a year and a graduate student can fill up the online admission form and send it along with relevant documents to the institute.
Detailed information is available on our website : www.welingkaronline.org.
4. What is the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of your distance learning MBA programme? How does your Distance MBA programme is uniquely poised to suit the interest of both aspirants and the industry?
Distance learning programs at WeSchool have a number of unique features like:
- Virtual classroom lecture support for major subjects, where in , a student sitting in any part of the globe, can attend live two-way audio-video lectures and interact with the faculty and hundreds of other colleagues.
- Inclusion of game based practical subject for thousands of Distance Learning PG students residing in and around Mumbai.
- Experiential Learning Methodology, where students are evaluated based on their participation in business games, project work and Q&A sessions.
- On-line placement support facility from day one of joining the program
- Online ‘Newswire’ support facility for students of all specializations. Through this facility, they can read a number of news articles related to their specialization.
- Free access to on-line video library , ‘ We-tube’
- E-learning tool kit and audio-video CD content for all subjects, in addition to study material.
- Industry visits for Distance Learning students
- Spritual camps
- Monthly Movie learning sessions at Mumbai campus for distance learning students
- Leadership treks of 3 days to 10 days at regular intervals for distance learning students
- Placement support: Information about various job openings available in different industries is regularly updated on our website for the benefit of our students.They can refer to this data and apply to the companies of their choice.It is noticed that generally the facilities of Placement Support Services are not available for Distance learning Program students. WeSchool has made a mark in this respect and the services are available on exclusive basis.
5. There is not enough recognition for distance MBA in India. The Distance MBA programmes are generally not much valued in the market. How should top players in the Distance MBA cope with this challenge?
As the needs of well trained manpower by different industries keep growing by leaps and bounds, Distance education is fast becoming a popular and credible option for those who could not go for higher studies due to personal compulsions or those who feel the need to enhance their skill sets after working for a few years in some sector so that they are able to either enhance or change their career prospects. With rapidly developing technologies, it has become much easier to regularly add value added activities to Distance MBA programs. It is now feasible for us to plan activities regularly, communicate the same to a large number of students on timely basis and provide them with industry relevant knowledge and also develop their soft skills. Institutes should continuously strive to update the content at a very rapid pace and provide meaningful value added activities for holistic development of students doing study thorough Distance MBA. It is heartening to note that, many organizations have observed this change and are giving preference to students doing MBA programs through distance learning from reputed institutes like the WeSchool.
6. Who are your target groups for your distance learning programme? What is the number of students enrolled in your distance learning programme (last academic year i.e. 2011-12)?
Broadly, graduates from any discipline in the age group of 22 years to 35 years, form our major student base.
Enrollment for our distance learning programs was around 15000 students during the last year. .
7.What is the fee structure for the current academic year?
Fees structure for Our Two years PG programs is Rs. 45,000/- , whereas it varies from Rs. 7,500 to Rs. 25,000 for various Diploma programs of Six months to One year duration.
8.What are the key challenges and opportunity for Distance MBA Education in India in next 4-5 years?
Some of the key challenges, we see in near future are availability of good speed internet connectivity in remote places , spread of many non-recognized institutes offering very poor quality distance education programs and thereby adversely affecting image of overall distance learning education system.
However, with the growing number of student population, large number of management programs on offer and improved access to deprived groups will create healthy practices in Distance education programs as well as in their delivery mechanisms and this will bring immense benefits to all the stakeholders.
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