Indira Gandhi National Open University
Maidan Garhi, New Delhi-110068
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:
The Indira Gandhi National Open University, the National Resource Centre for Open and Distance Learning, 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 large-scale human resource development, required for promoting integrated national development and global understanding.
The University has made a significant mark in the areas of higher education, community education and continual professional development. The University has been networking with reputed public institutions and private enterprises for enhancing the educational opportunities being offered by it. As a world leader in distance education, it has been conferred with awards of excellence by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada, several times. In January 2010, it was listed 12th in the webometric ranking of Indian universities, based on the calibre of its presence on the Internet.
The University is committed to quality in teaching, research, training and extension activities, and acts as a national resource centre for expertise and infrastructure in the ODL system. The University has established the Centre for Extension Education, National Centre for Disability Studies and National Centre for Innovation in Distance Education, to focus on specific learner groups and enrich the distance learning system. The Distance Education Council of the University helps in regulating and maintaining the ODL system in the country.
With the launch of EduSat (a satellite dedicated only to education) on 20th September, 2004, and the establishment of the Inter-University Consortium, the University has ushered in a new era of technology-enabled education in the country. Today, there are 134 active two-way video-conferencing centres; all the regional centres and high enrollment study centres have been provided with network connectivity, which has made it possible to transact interactive digital content.
Emphasis is now being laid on developing interactive multimedia and online learning, and adding value to the traditional distance education delivery mode with modern technology-enabled education within the framework of blended learning. As part of this endeavour, several programmes are being offered full-time on campus, at the headquarters, some regional centres and at other institutions of repute with which IGNOU has agreements for this purpose.
The University also has a considerable international presence, as has been said earlier. It encourages and funds the participation of its faculty in international conferences and seminars, and organises several international conferences too.
There are regular visits of foreign scholars, for delivering lectures or to interact with faculty. The University has given copyright or permission to many foreign institutions to adapt/adopt/use its learning materials, apart from offering its academic programmes across the world through partnership arrangements.
Over the years, IGNOU has lived up to the country’s expectations of providing education to the marginalised sections of society. Free of cost education is being provided to all jail inmates across the country. A large number of SC/ST students have been admitted to various programmes of the University.
An innovative Bachelor of Arts programme in Applied Sign Language has been launched in collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire (UcLAN) of Britain. The programme is the first-of-its-kind in the world.
(Updated on 01 May, 2014)
# Thrust Areas:
* Total Quality Management:
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.
* Increasing enrolment:
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.
* Strengthening the Faculty and Attracting Talent:
To maintain high academic standards and to compete in the fast-changing global environment of educational services, no institution can continue to be relevant without offering new programmes. This necessitates recruitment of experts on a regular basis. A dynamic system like IGNOU needs dedicated staff with vast experience, expertise and capability for research in newer areas (including that of ODL).
It also needs to constantly keep its academic offerings at the cutting edge of quality and societal needs.
The University would like to strengthen the existing faculty, attract new talent, and nurture them through better human resource development policies.
* Widening Areas of Study:
IGNOU, at present, offers programmes in about 30 established disciplines and a few inter-disciplinary areas. There is a growing realisation that newer and diverse programmes must be added, without compromising the needs of traditional disciplines. Since IGNOU has established its presence in the international arena, its programmes must incorporate international perspectives, and respond to contemporary issues. The University needs to develop and offer programmes in areas like Telecommunications, Conflict Resolution and Peace, Bio-informatics, Population Studies and e-Commerce.
* 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.
* Increasing Access — Reaching the Unreached:
IGNOU, with its diverse programmes, low cost and a wide network, has succeeded in attracting a significant group of learners from amongst the disadvantaged. However, a significant cross-section of people still remains outside its reach. The University is mandated to reach out to them. Specific efforts shall be made for providing access to education and equity in opportunities to women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, the rural population, the remote areas, tribal regions, differently-abled, and the socially and economically weaker sections of society.
Differently-abled students need special attention and shall form a focused target group. Building greater flexibility in the system will help the Varsity to significantly widen its access.
* 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.
* Extension Education:
Extension has always been recognised as the third important dimension of higher education. It involves taking knowledge and its applications to the community. The thrust of the University would be to generate a literacy movement, by involving all sections of the society and training the workforce to meet the challenges of the emerging professional and social needs. The focus will be on extension programmes, which promote local, integrated development and create self-employment for the poorer sections and for those living in rural and backward areas.
* Electronic Media in Education:
It is now recognised that ICT can provide convenient and effective tools to meet the emerging needs of diverse groups. IGNOU operates a 24-hour educational TV channel Gyan Darshan and a radio-cooperative Gyan Vani. There is provision for two-way tele-conferencing, interactive radio counselling, and for relaying educational programmes through local FM radio stations.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, has identified IGNOU as the nodal agency for collaborating with, and developing capacities in, State Open Universities, Correspondence Course Institutions, as well as other conventional universities and educational institutions for application of multimedia.
The University shall strive to develop a national network using emerging technologies to meet the challenges of access and equity. The thrust will be on strengthening online delivery of education and establishment of community-based multi-purpose tele-learning centres for ICT-enabled education and training.
* International Impact of IGNOU:
Currently, the overseas presence of the University is mainly confined to some regions of Asia and a few countries of Africa. For historical, cultural and economic reasons, it is imperative and possible to extend the reach of the University's programmes much beyond the current recipients. Additionally, IGNOU also intends to reach the Indian diaspora spread across the globe. South Asia and large parts of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the South Pacific Region are also potential catchment areas. This shall necessitate 'globalisation' of the University's curriculum and greater use of ICT.
* Building Dynamism in the System:
At present, the average time taken for a major programme — from its conceptualisation to its delivery — is four to five years. With the rate of knowledge-obsolescence increasing rapidly, many of the programmes may be outdated by the time they are developed, delivered and imbibed by the learners.
Therefore, it is important that the time taken to develop and deliver a new programme be significantly reduced. The University would also focus on reducing the time taken in activities such as student registration, material despatch, evaluation, etc.
* Mobilisation of Resources:
The Governments, both at Central and State level, has been the major source of funding in education in India. This is particularly true of higher education — largely due to the conviction that education is a social obligation, an essential vehicle for individual empowerment and national development.
However, the dynamics of globalisation and liberalisation have resulted in State agencies overseeing higher education, encouraging educational institutions to generate their own resources, offer self-supporting programmes and reduce the dependence on the Government for resources. Resource mobilisation has become the responsibility of the Universities as well.
IGNOU has witnessed a continuous decline in non-Plan funding from the State, which is bound to put a strain on the financial resources of the University. There is, therefore, an immediate need to evolve new strategies for mobilising resources, so that the University can continue to work on its mandate without hindrance. Hence, maximising non-monetary inputs and achieving cost-effectiveness in operations and economy in spending shall be the guiding principles of the University in this effort.
(Updated on 30 Nov, 2011)
# Instruction System:
* Course Development | Evaluation:
IGNOU's method of instruction differs radically from that of other conventional universities. Indira Gandhi National Open University has adopted a multimedia approach to instruction. The different components being: self-instructional materials, counselling sessions, both face-to-face and via teleconferencing mode. For courses in Science, Computers, Nursing as well as Engineering and Technology, arrangements have been made to enable students undertake practical classes at select study centres.
In the tradition of Open Learning, IGNOU provides considerable flexibility in entry qualification, place, pace and duration of study to students. A Bachelor's Degree Programme (i.e. BA/BCom/BSc) of three years duration can be completed in six years if the student so desires.
* Credit System:
IGNOU follows a credit system that is based on the time factor involved in studying. One credit is equivalent to 30 study hours inclusive of all learning activities. Different programmes have different credit requirements. Students have the right to collect credits at their own pace, convenience and according to their own capability. IGNOU also provides a credit transfer facility whereby credits may be transferred from any other University to IGNOU after fulfilling the necessary requirements.
(Updated on 11 Nov, 2010)
* Strategies to Achieve the Mission:
IGNOU has both short-term as well as long-term strategies to achieve its mission and realise its vision. The elements of the action plan to achieve the objectives are:
1. Total Quality Assurance:
In the context of quality of education offered by the ODL institutions, IGNOU has approached the task at two levels: i) as an institution, and ii) as a system-leader.
i) IGNOU as an institution:
The University is committed to quality and excellence in all its activities — teaching, research, training and extension. The norms for programme evaluation, performance indicators for operation of systems, mechanisms to inject vibrancy in assessment and evaluation, and rewarding merit, have been established. The University shall:
* Initiate the process of academic audit and engage in a serious exercise to revise its course materials, both print and audio-visual, by incorporating information on the latest developments in all areas of study;
* Designate the better-performing disciplines, schools, centres and institutes as centres of excellence;
* Develop an ever-evolving mechanism for continuing professional development for the teaching and support staff;
* Take education to the unreached and enable them to participate in national development through integrated local development; and
* Promote spirit of excellence in student support services.
ii) IGNOU as a system leader:
It is now well recognised that open learning is the most viable option to make education accessible to all in India. However, it must offer quality education if it is to compete and collaborate with the conventional system. Due to its inherent character, the ODL system lends itself quite naturally to quality assurance and control. The University envisages a proactive role for itself by sharing professional capabilities and resources, to maintain and coordinate standards of Distance Education in the country. The University proposes to develop:
* Performance indicators for every sub-system;
* Scheme for creation/identification of centres of excellence in the ODL institutions;
* Inter-University Consortium for ICT-enabled education as well as a National Resource Centre for Research and Innovations in Distance Education;
* The University has established an autonomous body, the Distance Education Council, under its Act and Statutes to realise the goal of being a system leader.
2. Increasing Enrollment:
For contributing to increasing the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education, as envisaged in the Eleventh Five Year Plan, the University has drawn up an innovative strategy, by offering greater flexibility and openness in terms of:
* Course-wise enrollment so that learners can opt for a capsule of a few relevant courses which suit their requirements;
* Relaxed entry qualifications, particularly for disadvantaged sections;
* Preparing bridge courses to bring learners from educationally disadvantaged groups to the level of competence required for higher-level programmes;
* Encouraging State Open Universities (SOUs), correspondence course institutions (CCIs) and conventional universities in offering IGNOU courses to learners, by translating them in regional languages;
* Offering short-term courses for updating and upgrading knowledge and skills for the employed — professionals, educators, technologists, administrators and others — to meet the massive demand for trained workforce, in collaboration with respective national councils and controlling bodies;
* Offering differential fee structure to facilitate entry of the ‘have-nots’, in socially relevant, and professional programmes;
* Offering post-graduate and research degrees in all disciplines
* Taking education to low-literacy districts and communities in rural and remote areas;
* Offering programmes for special groups, women, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, and minorities; and
* Using ICT for community intervention and development.
3. Strengthening the Faculty:
To provide sustainable access to quality education, an academic institution must have an internationally recognised faculty. In the context of global competition, it would, therefore, be prudent to pay due attention to the professional growth of the faculty by:
* Attracting the best talent — to enhance productivity, improve quality of courses and provide effective services to learners;
* Inviting visiting, tenured and adjunct faculty in unconventional interdisciplinary areas at the senior level. This will allow the University to augment its faculty resource base and enhance interaction with other universities and institutions;
* Enhancing resources to provide support for research;
* Training the faculty in interactive multimedia and online teaching and learning; and
* Institutionalising exchange programmes through the Inter-University Consortium.
4. Widening areas of study:
To sustain its growth, the University should respond to change and provide relevant, contemporary programmes at all times — a paradigm shift from ‘you learn what we offer’ to ‘we offer what you want to learn'. Therefore, there is a need to widen the basket of courses in diverse areas of contemporary relevance. The University proposes to undertake newer initiatives such as:
* Addition of disciplines in existing Schools of Study, such as special education, intellectual property rights, telecommunications, e-learning, biotechnology, bio-informatics etc;
* Striking a balance between niche-market, skill-oriented courses and life-coping courses dictated by the needs of the society;
* Providing greater flexibility in course offerings, with possibility of lateral entry and exit points in degree programmes, including credit transfers;
* Offering online education with interactive multimedia support; and
* Offering specific programmes for in-service professionals to update and upgrade their knowledge and skills;
* As well as appreciation courses for adult citizens.
5. Research and Scholarship:
The ODL system has a short history and, therefore, there is a paucity of relevant research on its various facets. For IGNOU, which intends to be a leader in the ODL system, it is absolutely essential to promote research and scholarship in the area. The University is keen to promote basic and applied research by:
* Offering research degree programmes in all Schools of Studies, which is expected to generate a vibrant and enabling environment in the University for conducting research;
* Providing facilities and liberal funding for independent discipline-based and systemic research;
* Identifying specific areas for institutional research, encouraging inter-disciplinary research teams, and devising mechanisms thereof;
* Allocating special funds to promote collaborative research with other distance learning institutions; and
* Encouraging discipline-specific systemic research to enhance quality of instructional delivery and learning for students.
6. Reaching the Unreached:
The University has been mandated to reach out to the marginalised sections of our society. The efforts so far have been mainly confined to the professional development of the employed. There is a need to initiate special measures to attract learners from the disadvantaged groups. The major steps envisaged to achieve this are:
* Enhancing access by spreading the network of study centres from the district level to the block level;
* Networking with SOUs and CCIs and using ICT in a proactive way in difficult terrain and inaccessible regions;
* Strengthening the University's presence in the North-East, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, Chhattisgarh, Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region in Orissa, Jaisalmer and Barmer in Rajasthan and other low-literacy regions;
* Conducting special drives to enroll marginalised groups (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, differently-abled, women learners) in the niche-market programmes;
* Using emerging and innovative technologies to provide access and opportunities to the differently-abled, tribals and women by cloning the best practices from successful models;
* Entering collaborations with national agencies and NGOs to increase the outreach of its programmes.
* Instituting special scholarships, stipends and fee waiver schemes with Government and other funding agencies to enable disadvantaged groups to pursue IGNOU programmes.
7. Effective Student-Support Services:
Effective student-support services are an important pre-requisite for:
* Improving completion rate;
* Reducing drop-out rate;
* Providing sustainable, quality education; and
* Enhancing the credibility of the system.
* For making the support services effective, the University proposes the following:
* Equip all Study Centres and Regional Centres with adequate ICT equipment and other infrastructure to connect them with the Headquarters for prompt data transmission and retrieval, information sharing and redressal of learner difficulties.;
* Provide an opportunity for greater interaction with learners;
* Reduce response time in admission, distribution of material and declaration of results;
* Carry out tracer-studies on learner performance and experiences;
* Regularly monitor the quality of support services;
* Forge seamless convergence between open and conventional university systems; Increase use of interactive technology, mediated counselling and induction programmes;
* Evolve a more efficient database management system;
* Provide on-demand admission and examination;
* Forge alliances with conventional universities to facilitate collaborative educational projects student and faculty exchange, sharing of courses and credit exemption/transfer — leading to award of composite degrees; and
* Further strengthen links with public and private institutions and NGOs engaged in education and training.
8. Strengthening Extension Education:
To strengthen extension education, it is important to relate it to teaching, learning and development. As a part of its strategy, the University would like to:
* Encourage capacity building in agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture, natural-resource management, health, human rights, literacy, life coping skills, legal literacy, vocational skills, entrepreneurship, computer literacy, design, media studies, etc
* Be guided by the principles that education:
i) is accessible, affordable and relevant to the lives of the marginalised and the disadvantaged,and available at a place and time of their convenience;
ii) should improve the quality of life of the people;
iii) encourages income generation and promote self-employment; and
iv) builds on learner experience and indigenous knowledge.
v) Forge partnerships with government and non-government organisations, research institutions,universities, vocational institutions, industries, international agencies like UNESCO, COL, World Bank, WHO, ADB and others engaged in extension.
vi) Disseminate knowledge through technology enabled multi-purpose community learning centres in rural and urban areas.
9. Electronic Media in Education:
In a diverse country like India, no single technology can be used on all occasions and for all purposes. The choice of technology should take into account availability, accessibility and acceptability. Priorities in the use of technologies for distance education will have to be different in different contexts. The possibilities of outreach and economy of scale are as important considerations for IGNOU as individualised access and interactivity.
Online education has already started influencing education and is destined to impact it in a big way in the future. IGNOU has also launched its online programmes. Web-based methods can supplement the teaching and learning processes for professional, need-based, vocational and other academic programmes. The support activities in other programmes would also be strengthened through centralised expert counselling based on fully interactive networks.
The University plans to periodically upgrade its online resources. These would include:
* Networking (internal) with Regional and Study Centres for quick data transmission, retrieval and flow of other information; and
* Ready access to online resources for students — walk-in admission and on-demand examination; on-line assignment generation; centralised computerised admission and instant confirmation; computerised and networked databases.
The library services would make optimum use of technology by:
* Creating databases and digitalising content from internal and external resources to facilitate expeditious retrieval and dissemination of information;
* Developing a special collection of material on distance education and related fields such as education technology, online or web enabled education and learning, etc.;
* Digitalising full-text materials after obtaining copyright permission; and
* Utilisation of the full potential of the Internet by facilitating access to a vast array of resources for empowering distance learners.
* Distance education utilises ‘open media’. Educational inputs provided through broadcast modes are available to a majority of our learners. The University intends to diversify the presence of Gyan Darshan and Gyan Vani in range and content. The availability of extended C-band for TV broadcasting will be upgraded to KU-band in the Direct-to-Home (DTH) and Digital Terrestrial Television mode.
In addition to Gyan Darshan, IGNOU would have:
* Five more TV channels for technical education, secondary education, higher education, IGNOU's academic programmes, and for agriculture-based programmes. These would be effectively used for furthering the ODL system;
* A network of 40 FM-radio stations based across the country. These will be used in collaboration with the SOUs, the CCIs and conventional institutions, for delivery of education in regional languages; and
* Education-based TV transmission as well as FM-radio relays, that will be digitised for better technical quality, economy in costs and for better interactivity.
* Production and transmission of programmes will be gradually replaced by disc-based digital storage devices which will result in longer shelf-life, random access and retrieval, and improved storage.
* Visually-challenged learners can be reached more conveniently by creating documents in Braille, and audio programmes. For those with hearing impairment, video programmes will be produced.
National Network for Open & Distance Education (N-NODE) is envisaged in the Tenth Plan. It is a dedicated hybrid communication-network, which uses a combination of technologies, such as satellite communication, WILL and optical fibre. Such a network is essential for connectivity between IGNOU Headquarters, Regional Centres and Study Centres. IGNOU Headquarters will also be connected to all the SOUs. The community-based multi-purpose learning centres shall be based on the operationalisation of this model.
This networking will serve to meet the objectives of:
* Telecollaboration, in strategic matters, with the SOUs and also RCs;
* On-line admission and on-line results;
* Increased interactivity; and
* Quality promotion.
(Updated on 30 Nov, 2011)
Information Source: http://www.ignou.ac.in/
Call: 011-29572512, 29572513, 29572514, 29572516, 011-29533869, 29533870