Students in open universities and distance education system should be more careful before joining a programme or institution. The degree offered by state universities/ central universities/ deemed to be universities/ institutions of national importance are recognized, provided the universities follow the directives of the statutory bodies like UGC, AICTE, MCI, etc. Thus, before putting your hard earned money to a distance education programme, do exercise your rights to ask for the approvals of the relevant statutory bodies. It is important to look for academic rigour of the programme such as conduct and attendance in counselling, number of assignments and their assessment, examination procedures, quality of learning materials, etc. before joining a programme. Unfortunately, many distance learners want quick degrees without making adequate efforts to learn. When you go for quick and easy degree, you pay the price by falling into the trap.
Many a time, the issue of non-recognition of open university degree in admission to higher degree in conventional face-to-face universities also come to notice. It may be noted here that Universities are autonomous to decide whom to admit into a programme/course based on equivalence of the similar qualifications issued by them. Universities have their own equivalence committees for this purpose and the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) also deal with such cases, and all conventional universities by and large follow it. For the distance education students this is where the problem remains, as some universities refuse to give equivalence to open university degrees. The DEC may take steps in this front in collaboration with the UGC and AIU to create an 'equivalence framework' so that the students of distance education are not put to disadvantage. For employment, the distance education degrees offered by universities, in accordance with their Act/ Statutes/ Ordinances and duly offered in accordance to the guidelines/approval of the relevant statutory bodies, should be recognized by all employers. Otherwise, it would be discrimination.
Students in the Distance Education system should not worry about the validity of their degrees, but should worry more about their studies/learning per se. If you work hard and study to demand more from the institutions and teachers, you will get it. It is your performance that will speak for the system and bring in more legitimacy and respect.
Note: No offense is intended to any individual or institution. Apologies for any unintended interpretation by the readers.