Open University

Topics: Higher education, Academic degree, College Pages: 22 (6819 words) Published: April 21, 2013

Democratising higher education: the ignou initiatives

Dr.Nayantara Padhi
Assistant Professor,
Centre for Corporate Education, Training & Consultancy,
IGNOU, New Delhi

Starting with two courses and 4,000 students in 1985, IGNOU has reached the ladder of success being the world’s largest mega university, most diverse and inclusive institution offering over 3500 courses and catering to over 2.5 million students. IGNOU is committed to be accessible to all by ensuring learner convenience through its unique ‘age no bar, place no bar and pace no bar’ approach. This approach of IGNOU falls in line with the objectives of democratizing higher education as the current initiatives of IGNOU indicate. During last few years IGNOU has been experimenting various innovative ideas and methods for meeting the above mentioned objectives and ultimately to cater to the diverse needs of people. This has resulted into successful launching of number of programmes, courses, medium and modules. To name a few, Community College establishment, programmes for physically challenged, providing second career opportunity to Indian Army: Gyan Deep, Convergence of distance education and higher education, starting of face to face programmes, use of 3G technology for imparting education , Flexilearning mode, satellite based communication etc. In this paper an attempt has been made to present an overview of the above mentioned innovations that has been carried out by IGNOU in order to align with the mission of democratising higher education. Also the current status of these innovations and the related issues are highlighted. DEMOCRATISING HIGHER EDUCATION: THE IGNOU INITIATIVES

Vision Statement of IGNOU

“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 massive human resource required for promoting integrated national development and global understanding”.

The Indira Gandhi National Open University was established by an Act of Parliament in 1985.Today the University is making all efforts to take higher education to the doorsteps of the hitherto unreached. The University imparts education and knowledge through various flexible means suited to the open and distance education mode, including Information and Communication Technologies, in order to fulfill the vision of democratizing higher education, it provides higher education and training to large sections of population, particularly the disadvantaged segments of the society. It promotes national integration and the integrated development of human personality; encourages, co-ordinates and assists open universities and distance learning systems across the country to improve standards in such systems.

Learners from varied groups including rural and tribal areas, physically-challenged, jail inmates and rehabilitation houses, government and non-government sectors, parents and home-makers, the employers and the employed have been beneficiaries of the IGNOU programme. The University has put special focus on women, socially and economically disadvantaged groups, the north-east region, and other tribal and low literacy areas of the country.

The University provides a multi-mode learning system comprising print, audio, video, radio, television, teleconferencing, interactive radio counseling, Internet-based learning and face-to-face counseling.

IGNOU recently has also been involved in the National Skills Mission particularly in generating employment in line with the various schemes of the Central Government and State Government. The aim is to provide flexible knowledge and skill opportunities for the unemployed youth of...
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