HT Horizons talks to Professor V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) on the career options offered by IGNOU.
What do you think the major roadblocks that hinder IGNOU from becoming a popular university are?
We need to consolidate our existing academic programmes, many of which were introduced 10-15 years ago. We also need new industry specific courses, based on an effective impact analysis.
IGNOU also requires massive technological upgradation and an infrastructure boost. We enjoy a student population of about 18 lakh. To support this growing student base we need to, qualitatively as well as quantitatively, enhance our teaching and support staff. Our examination process needs to be more streamlined and expedient.
Another sector that needs immediate attention is research. We at IGNOU are not yet tapping the full potential of our staff. Also, we see a constant need for academic enrichment, though it is certainly not a roadblock for IGNOU in any way.
What are the new initiatives in place at IGNOU?
We, at IGNOU, continue to evolve through a series of persistent initiatives. We are now providing fellowships to interested candidates, who are willing to enrich ‘Open and Distance Learning’ (ODL) training and learning. We have also opened a number of new schools. These include the School of Gender Studies, the School of Translation Studies and Training (STST) and the School of Vocational Studies.
We believe that to tap the strength of our aboriginal knowledge, we need to have a strong translators community within the country, which has been our motivation for the STST. In about three months, we will be ready to launch a one-year course in retail management. Students here will be attached to the industry for six months, with stipends too.
We have also started foreign language courses in German, French, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and Spanish. Our German course is being launched on 23 July, in collaboration with Max Mueller Bhawan. We may also come up with a School of Fine Arts and Performing Arts soon.
What is IGNOU’s trademark specialty that should draw students to its shores?
At IGNOU we make effective use of technology in imparting the best to our students. There is no compromise on the quality of education and our rigorous curriculum and examinations prove that. In fact, many foreign universities and foreign level institutes, use our course material. This in itself speaks for the quality of our education.