Distance Law Education in IndiaImage Courtesy - Lloyd Law College

Distance education is one of the most common yet not so common phenomenon in our growing country. In today’s time, everything is available at our doorstep according to our needs and similar is the situation for education. The opinion regarding the distance education has changed in our country, since earlier it was thought that students could not be educated outside a disciplined classroom whereas here we are generously giving out knowledge and information by using the World Wide Web. The times have certainly changed and people have started to look at the brighter side of the internet. The legal profession is getting its hands into the benefits of distance Legal education. The legal professionals need to constantly upgrade their knowledge due to changing dynamics of everyday. There are some areas like intellectual property law, technology law which are evolving constantly.

The law courses impart legal education which requires very detailed planning and precise execution. Through distance education in law, there is a potential to make the legal education accessible and equitable a reality and thus making it a reality to provide opportunities to all kind of people in a democracy like ours. The various demands for the human resources could be met and simultaneously it offers a wide range of benefits as compared to the on campus education.

Why online distance education:

  • It provides an easy access and gives an independent learning opportunity depending on the requirement of the student.
  • There is improved course content and the pedagogic quality is also better.
  • To offer professional course like legal studies is feasible and a viable option in this technological era.

Who can take the courses?

  • Lawyers having several years of experience who wants to get ahead and venture into new avenues of law in their work by using the expertise in the different areas during the same time.
  • Some of the students who want to go beyond the course curriculum to what is taught in the law school. That helps them to stand out in making arguments and can perform better during their internships and interviews.
  • There are lots of people from non-law background who can and are reaping the benefits of the distance learning platform. The courses that are offered on any platform help them in their careers for example HR managers prefer taking courses on employment laws or labor laws, professionals in the procurement business want to gain knowledge on contract law.
  • Some of the platforms offer customized online courses to cater for the in house legal departments of the organization.
  • Students through distance learning also prepare for competitive exams like CLAT, Bar exam.

Benefit to the students:

  • This way of teaching has helped students to learn the newer and broader areas of law which might be neglected in a typical on campus course. The online courses provide the student that opportunity to come out of the bottle neck that gets stuck while working under a lawyer. The distance learning courses focus on elevating the professional competence of the student.

Challenges:

  • The quality of education at such a platform becomes difficult due to the absence of teacher –student coordination which often leads to lack of credibility when these programs are offered.
  • The faculty needs to be trained appropriately when it comes to distance learning courses which requires them to be fully equipped to deal with the open learning space.
  • The student support and the hand holding approach of the faculty members is very crucial in case of online distance learning.
  • Most of the students drop out of the online courses is due to lack of transparency in evaluation and the delayed publication of results.
  • The demand for the candidates for high level posts after the online course is quite low in our country. This is because some of the organizations do not recognize the certification of the online courses.
  • The regular students who go for on campus courses have a lot if facilities and get exposure to a lot of areas which helps them in continuous growth, whereas the online students are struggling for the same. This leads to a feeling of insecurity and inadequacy among the online students.
  • All the stakeholders like academic planners, tutors, technical assistance providers should be on board while planning an online distance course.
  • The course curriculum needs to be dynamic in its nature to cater to the evolving and challenging needs of the society.
  • A regular feedback mechanism is required on the performance of the online candidates working at the different organizations.

Conclusion:

India has got a great potential in the arena of distance learning. However, to ensure the access, quality we have to ensure the standards in comparison to the equivalence of other modes of education. We should strive for improvement and encourage innovation in the relative field with a hope to provide faster connectivity. The focus should be on maintaining good faculty with their inclination towards knowledge acquisition and provide them with ample opportunities for professional development. They have to constantly develop ways to understand, assess and meet the needs of the students. It becomes equally important for the organization to train the teachers regularly to make them confident with the emerging new technologies. The organizations also need to understand that there is no one single path to follow in case of distance learning and then they should strive to evolve methods of their own  which can impart skills and knowledge to the students and they can reap the maximum benefits.

Author

Sakshi Dhaulta