If you thought distance learning was only for losers, here’s a reality check. Two IGNOU graduates have cleared this year’s civil services, and are set to become IAS officers.
The Indira Gandhi National Open University or IGNOU today has 18 lakh students. In Delhi, for every student enrolled in a regular Delhi University college, there are two enrolled in DU’s School of Open Learning.
Although the number of students is high, the general view is that distance education is for those not good enough for regular colleges. But IGNOU graduates Keshvendra Kumar and Kumar Ravikant Singh, both from Bihar, have proved that view wrong.
Keshvendra, 22, cracked the exams on his very first attempt, and is among the youngest in his batch. After school in Sitamarhi, Keshvendra did a railways vocational course, as “job was a priority since my family did not have the resources to fund my education”. While working as a railways booking clerk, the son of an Ayurvedic doctor enrolled for Hindi (Hons) in IGNOU. And then came civil services.
Ravikant, 23, the son of a milkman, said: “Since my father couldn’t afford my tuition fees, I took up a job and then enrolled in IGNOU.” He secured 77th rank — not bad at all for someone who got 69 per cent in his Class X boards. “In Class XII, I got 84.4 per cent. With these marks, I could never have got into a good regular college.”
He’s happy he did IGNOU. “The regular college tag may increase your brand value but not having it does not decrease your value in any way,” he said.
IGNOU spokesperson Ravi Mohan said, “Our study material is excellent. And the number of classes is only a little less than regular colleges.”