The human resource development (HRD) ministry has directed Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) to restart the online education programme e-GyanKosh. This programme was stopped allegedly by Vice Chancellor M Aslam in 2013. Aslam is presently facing a probe into administrative irregularities and closing down of some programmes.
Asking the varsity to "reactive" the eGyanKosh repository, joint secretary in the ministry SP Goyal has suggested that it may be integrated with the SAKSHAT programme for seamless access of content with national digital library and the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS).
When discontinued, the e-GyanKosh platform was receiving on an average 1000 visits per day from across the world and by November 2013 had received 20 lakh hits. It had more than 3 lakhs active registered users, having free access to the content.
In August, 2011, IGNOU's board of management resolved to convert e-Gyankosh into an open educational resource which would have gone a long way towards having a virtual University in the country.
However, instead of moving in this direction, e-Gyankosh was closed allegedly by Aslam in November 2013 on the pretext of having a new Intellectual Property Rights policy, sources in the varsity said.
They said the closure of e-GyanKosh is also a part of the inquiry instituted against Aslam. The shutdown not only led to a waste of Rs 20 crore but also deprived the facility to lakhs of students particularly those in the remote regions of the country, the foreign students of IGNOU and the members of the Indian Armed Forces
who are pursuing IGNOU programmes, they said.
Aslam went on leave in November last year after the ministry set up a committee under Gujarat University VC Syed Bari to review the functioning of IGNOU and look into the allegations against Aslam.