Honourable Harold Wilson was born in Huddlers field in 1916. He was educated at Oxford University where he influenced tutor, G.D.H Cole. He became a Lecturer in economics at Oxford. Honourable Wilson, Member of the Labour Party was selected as the parliament candidate for Ormskirk and in 1945 was elected to the House of Commons. Honourable Wilson was only 29, when he was appointed as parliamentary secretary of the Ministry of Fuel & Power. During the 1964 general election campaign, Wilson promised to modernize Britain. Making full use of his academic background, Honourable Wilson was able to obtain a five seat majority is House of Commons. After the 1966 general election, this majority was increased to 97.
He was twice elected as the Prime Minister of Britain. Honourable Harold Wilson was the founder of the Open University. Education held special significance for a socialist of Wilsons generation, in view of its role in both opening up opportunities for students from working class backgrounds and enable the UK to seize the potential benefits of scientific advances. Honourable Harold Wilson™s major aim for the concept of an Open University was to give adults, who missed out on tertiary education, a second chance through part time study and distance learning. In 1966, Wilson was the first chancellor of the newly created University of Bradford, a position, he held until 1985. In Sept. 1967 a cabinet planning committee was set up to work out a comprehensive plan for an Open University. Prospectuses of Open University were published in 1969 (before the courses were prepared) and it was clear that there was enough interest for the Open University to succeed. The first Open University students began to study in 1971.
By the end of the 1970’s, the Open University was firmly established as a respected educational institution with 70,000 students, and 6,000 graduating each year. Since then, the Open University has been at forefront of the education – application of new technology from video, through the advent of personal computers to internet. Today, the Open University supports the largest online academic community in the world, where some 4, 00, 00 users and students are engaged in more than 96,000 electronic conferences. The Open University is widely regarded as higher education to all, regardless of background or previous educational qualification.
The concept of Distance education originated from Berlin (Germany) in 1856. Afterwards, Russia granted recognition to Distance Education in the world .In this manner, the idea of open university was conceived by the British Prime Minister Mr. Harold Wilson, in the year 1863 to provide an opportunity to persons who were otherwise denied opportunities to further their education and make their life successful. In 1996, under the Royal Charter an open university was established. The success of which was more far reaching than the traditional stress on open universities. Under the New Education Policy 1986, the Government of India laid particular stress on Open Universities and Distance Education.
The concept of distance education is good alternative to the heavily strained formal education system. The pressure in the field of higher education is ever increasing as more students apply for different courses every year. The number of students entering university has been rising at an average rate of 7 per cent a year. At present, more than 30 University are offering correspondence courses
The Open Education gives opportunities to all people who are not in a position to go to college or University to acquire degrees .They are convenient for the disadvantaged groups, living in remote areas and those who are employed. They enable students to pursue their education at their convenience without relying on rigid daily schedules and the constraints of attendance in classrooms. On 5th August 1985, the Union minister of Education said in the Rajya Sabha that The Open University would open an important era in educational technology and will be a role model in educational technology and in method of teaching different courses to the poor. The Open Education System gives sufficient flexibility in academic matters. It has a multimedia approach to instruction. The students have to make use the radio, the television, C.D. and computers, in addition to books, the study centres, located at places convenient for the students, serve as a storehouse of knowledge. The authorities of the Open Education System take steps to conduct periodic discussions and seminars on difficult and important topics. The Open Education System in our country produces good results in the field of higher education.
All Educational Boards / Universities are autonomous bodies. It is left to the discretion of university either to allow or refuse admission to a student from another university. In this way every State Government is at liberty whether to provide service to person who has passed out from a particular university or educational council or not Regarding the question of recognition Tamilnadu Council is an ISO certified Council which is registered under Planning Commission, Govt of of India and copy right registered under MHRD, Education Department
Tamilnadu Council for Open and Distance Learning is not in receipt of any grant-in-aid either from the Government or from the UGC, so far. Therefore NCTE, AICTE, UGC Act is not applicable to Tamilnadu Council. Under Human Rights Protection Act, 1993, autonomous bodies like the TCODL have been given specific protection. For further details please see AIR 1993 SC 217B.