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IGNOU-Indira Gandhi National Open University Welcome
The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), established by an Act of Parliament in 1985, has continuously striven to build an inclusive knowledge society through inclusive education. It has tried to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) by offering high-quality teaching through the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode.
The University began by offering two academic programmes in 1987, i.e., Diploma in Management and Diploma in Distance Education, with a strength of 4,528 students.
Today, it serves the educational aspirations of over 4 million students in India and 36 other countries through 21 Schools of Studies and a network of 67 regional centres, around 3,000 learner support centres and 67 overseas centres. The University offers about 490 certificate, diploma, degree and doctoral programmes, with a strength of nearly 420 faculty members and academic staff at the headquarters and regional centres and about 36,000 academic counsellors from conventional institutions of higher learning, professional organisations, and industry among others.
The mandate of the University is to:
• Provide access to higher education to all segments of the society;
• Offer high-quality, innovative and need-based programmes at different levels, to all those who require them;
• Reach out to the disadvantaged by offering programmes in all parts of the country at affordable costs; and
• Promote, coordinate and regulate the standards of education offered through open and distance learning in the country.
• To achieve the twin objectives of widening access for all sections of society and providing continual professional development and training to all sectors of the economy, the University uses a variety of media and latest technology in imparting education. This is reflected in the formulated vision of IGNOU, keeping its objectives in focus, which reads:
IGNOU, the National Resource Centre for Open and Distance Learning (ODL), with international recognition and presence, shall provide seamless access to sustainable and learner-centric quality education, skill upgradation and training to all by using innovative technologies and methodologies and ensuring convergence of existing systems for massive human resource required for promoting integrated national development and global understanding.
To advance frontiers of knowledge and promote its dissemination through sustainable Open and Distance Learning systems, seamlessly accessible to all, including those hitherto unreached, from among whom the leaders and innovators of tomorrow will emerge, the University shall:
• Strengthen the development of the National Resource Centre as a proactive role model for high-quality and learner-centric Open and Distance Learning system;
• Share professional capabilities and resources to improve standards of distance education in the country;
• Periodically assess and accredit institutions of Open and Distance Learning to promote centres of excellence in the country;
• Develop networks, using emerging technologies and methods, with global reach for effective programme delivery;
• Provide an intelligent and flexible system of education to meet the challenges of access and equity, and work towards development of a knowledge society;
• Forge convergence of all systems and work for seamless education across national boundaries to develop global collaboration and partnership;
• Take education to the hitherto unreached and promote community participation for local development through life-coping skills;
• Provide specific need-based education and training opportunities for continuous professional development and skill upgradation to in-service professionals; and Strive towards continuous development of methods and strategies for research and development for generation of knowledge in frontier areas, including Open and Distance Learning.
Total Quality Managemnt
In the last 26 years, IGNOU, through high-quality self-learning material and innovative programmes, has established itself as a National Resource Centre and a provider of quality education — at par with other national and international institutions of higher learning.
The University will have to make strenuous efforts to sustain this hard-earned credibility by continuously improving the quality of learning materials, student support services and upgrading the system of professional development and assessment of academic and non-academic staff. Total Quality Management will remain the highest priority in all areas of operation of the University. This will go in tandem with encouraging State Open Universities (SOUs), Correspondence Course Institutes (CCIs) and other providers of distance learning to adopt a holistic management strategy.
The demand for higher education in the country has grown enormously. The growth of enrollment in the conventional universities was 5 per cent in the 9th Five Year Plan. Moreover, the higher education system caters only to about 9 million learners, who constitute about 7.5 per cent of the eligible group (between 17-23 years).
The share of the ODL system in this is about 20 per cent. In the Eleventh Five Year Plan, the Government envisages increasing the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education to 15 per cent, and Distance Education will certainly play a pivotal role in this task.
Effective Student Support
Providing effective student support services is crucial for learner's satisfaction and success. Understanding the criticality of this support to learners, IGNOU has succeeded in creating a wide network of Regional Centres (RCs) and Study Centres (SCs) across the length and breadth of the country. There is, however, a need to gear up student support services further and render it more effective. It has become particularly important, because of the growing local, regional and international competition faced by the University in the context of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and General Agreement on Trade in Services stipulations.
Research and Scholarship
Research, both systemic and discipline-based, is crucial for the growth and academic credibility of any system. For the growth of faculty, creation of new knowledge and its dissemination is a must. Research in the areas of course development, media-mix, teaching-learning methods, student learning, learner support, programme evaluation, assessment systems, learner retention and success will be high priority areas.
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