If there is a university known to all in Pakistan, despite social background, location, age, and gender, it is Allama Iqbal Open University, formally known as People’s open university. Opened in 1974 with the vision of providing physical distance education, now known as E-learning, thanks to Covid, AIOU has been awarding degrees to millions of students in all fields of education. Growing rapidly in fame, achievements, and goals, AIOU now offers more than 2,000 courses and the opportunity to learn both physically and virtually.
‘Education to All’ is the motto of AIOU.
Merits and Demerits of Studying from AIOU University Islamabad
Let’s get down to the merits and demerits of AIOU, so you can decide if it’s close to your dream university or not.
MERITS OF AIOU
Two modes of learning opportunities:
AIOU provides the benefit of opting for either of the two modes of learning. That is online and on-campus classes. You can choose between physical and virtual education depending on your circumstances. The physical classes are carried out at regional campuses which are located across the country.
AIOU is the best online university in Pakistan. It has been there for almost forty-eight years, honoring millions of students to get an education at their doorstep. Its degree is acceptable worldwide. AIOU has achieved various milestones in all those years which makes it a reputable institution in the eyes of educationists.
Rest assured, AIOU is an HEC-recognized university, meaning quality education and the acceptance of degree worldwide is ensured.
Affordable fee structure:
One of the greatest merits of getting enrolled in AIOU is its affordable fee structure. The yearly fee is budget friendly and economical as compared to other public and private educational institutes in the country.
Easy for working people:
The online education system administered by AIOU makes it easier for a lot of people to get a degree. If you want to pursue education but something is holding you back, it might be your job, home, children, an illness, or any other cause, then AIOU is the right choice. Everything from admission to lectures to assignments is available online. All you need to have is an internet connection and a mobile phone.
Highly qualified faculty:
As far as the qualification of instructors is concerned, the faculty appointment for each program at AIOU is done via HEC criteria. So, the faculty at AIOU is highly qualified at their end.
AIOU is an internationally acclaimed university. It is considered the world’s 2nd largest university based on the enrollment of students. It welcomes thousands of national as well as international students in different programs.
The main campus of AIOU is located in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. It is ranked among the world top 500 greenest universities in the world. The campus covers a vast area with a lot of nature to be seen around. The campus is well maintained in terms of infrastructure, furniture, IT, cleanliness, plants, etc.
DEMERITS OF AIOU
Where e-learning has its benefits, it might lead to stress for some as well. Being online means one requires an internet facility at hand. Free internet access is still a dream in Pakistan. Moreover, many remote areas do not have internet resources at all, if not free. On top of that, AIOU does not take notice of this issue for the students who do not have access to or can not afford the internet. Long story short, if you want to get online education from AIOU, you must have easy access to the internet.
One unfortunate idea practiced by AIOU is the on-campus examination system. When the classes are online, the exams should be online too, as the students demand. Moreover, the examination centers are far away from the respective locations of students. It means the university management does not take students’ difficulties into account.
AIOU uses and demands students use postal services for admissions, books, assignments, and any other documentation required. More than often, it has complained students that the books are not delivered on time which makes it difficult for them to work.
According to student reviews, the teaching method used at AIOU is not interactive learning. Online streaming is often delayed or stuck on part of the faculty. Students also face difficulty in joining online classrooms, for whatever reasons. In short, the teaching-learning environment is not as it should be. So, don’t have high hopes for learning while getting admission to AIOU.
Although AIOU is HEC recognized and its degree is acceptable worldwide, there comes a difference between acceptance and preference. Many institutes and later for jobs, do not recommend degrees from AIOU due to its poor learning rate, we could safely say.
Fewer admissions openings:
AIOU opens admissions for some programs like B.Ed once a year, which wastes a lot of time for students. Aspirants have to wait a whole year for the new admissions to get started if they couldn’t get it in the first go. It sounds unplausible given the fact that AIOU works a semester system, then why they won’t open admissions every spring and fall?
It would not be unfair to say that AIOU follows a rusty communication system, although being an online education institution communication with students is the most important step to work on. The website design is old and doesn’t help students get their answers. The administration does not reply efficiently and documents often get lost and no one takes notice of it. This way, the burden gets on students as they have to send the documents again, in a lot of cases. It makes online education at AIOU a headache rather than an easier way to the goal.
To conclude the above-mentioned points, one gets pulled towards the de-merits more than the merits of the university. Personally, I would not like to go through such trouble to get a degree that is not even worth a learning experience.
Another reason could be the availability of other online institutes in today’s time. In comparison to years back when students have no choice other than AIOU for an online degree. Today, there are other reputable institutions offering online education with better opportunities.
That being said, one must review all the possible options before making a decision. It is solely up to you to decide what you want as different options come with different benefits.