Symbiosis was started in 1971, by visionary educationist Padma Bhushan Dr. Shantaram Balwant Mujumdar mainly as a 'home away from home' for foreign students studying in Pune. Since its inception, Symbiosis has grown into a large education group with schools and colleges spread across 20 campuses. Symbiosis has thousands of students from all across India and 80 countries studying in various on-campus programs.
Symbiosis Open Education Society (SOES) was established to promote vocational, skill based education and open & distance learning. SOES has four constituent units under its aegis - Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning (SCDL), Symbiosis Vocational Junior College, Symbiosis Community College and Symbiosis Institute of Skill Development. SCDL was established in 1994 with the objective of “Reaching the Unreached".