Story image for Distance Learning from Mumbai MirrorMumbai University’s Institute of Distance and Open Learning
Only 68,000 students enrolled in IDOL in 2017, down from 76,000 in 2016; result delays due to online assessment one reason.

The University of Mumbai’s distance learning programme, IDOL (Institute of Distance and Open Learning), has witnessed a drop in its enrolment numbers, from 76,000 in 2016 to 68,000 in 2017 – a drop of nearly 11 per cent.

This is the first time that the varsity has experienced such a reduction in enrolment. The figures for 2015 and 2016 had hovered in the 75,000 to

“It is not a steep drop. New colleges have sprung up, and more departments have been formed, which have absorbed some students. The results were declared late last year, which has resulted in a slight drop in the figure,” said Vinod Malale, Public Relations Officer, Mumbai University. He said he was optimistic that the numbers would rise this year, and that the delay in the declaration of results would not significantly impact them.

“Those students who are going to come to us (IDOL), they will come to us,” Malale said.

Owing to the fiasco triggered by the delay in the declaration of results due to the introduction of online assessment, the admission process, which usually commences in June, commenced in September last year.

“The admission process should start once Class XII results are declared, but last year, it started only after four months, which led to an exodus of students, who would otherwise have applied to MU, to other institutions offering distance education,” said Sanjay Vairal, who was a senate member from 2011 to ’15.

Dr D Harichandan, in-charge director of IDOL, concurred. “A lot of reasons resulted in the drop, including the fact that the then director in-charge was not very clear as to how conduct the process,” he said. He also said the trend may not acutely impact the university’s finances.

Vairal said the process of changing the agency responsible for facilitating the online admission process midway did not help. “There were discrepancies in the appointment of the agency, which consumed a lot of time. The problem was compounded by the delay in the declaration of results,” he said.

The agency managing the enrolment process was Exxon Automation. Later, Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited (MKCL) was appointed. Vairal alleged that the reason behind the switch was not explained to him when he demanded the information under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

IDOl has over 36 courses, including several undergraduate and postgraduate courses ranging in annual fees of between Rs 3,000 and Rs 16,000. “The university’s finances will not be impacted severely [by the reduced numbers] given that it (IDOL) is a profitable institute, owing to low expenditure. It will be recovered next year,” Malale said.


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