Gone are the days when those who didn’t have any choice opted for universities offering distance education. Today, it is the flexibility, infrastructure, faculty, peer group, extra-curricular activities and placements that are attracting students to them. The Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) is one such institution. It started by offering two academic programmes in 1987 (diploma in management and diploma in distance education), with a strength of 4,528 students, and today it serves millions of students across the country.
“A few years ago, it was a challenge for students in villages and small towns to gain access to higher education. Ignou aims to take education to such unreached segments of the population. As a national resource centre for open and distance learning, Ignou not only provides sustainable and learner-centric quality education, but also offers skill upgradation and training by using innovative technologies and methodologies to meet the burgeoning human resource development needs,” says M Aslam, vice chancellor, Ignou.
The university offers 228 programmes developed by 21 schools of studies and delivered through a vast network of 67 regional centres widening at home and abroad. Also, Ignou has 2,667 learner support centres and 33,212 academic counsellors.
“Last year, the university admitted 7,22,390 students to its various programmes of study, including fresh registrations and re-registrations. At present, the total cumulative student strength is estimated at 30,74,377. This proves that Ignou has its outreach to all corners of the country and different segments of society. We are the first university in the country which made education interventions in about 58 jails across the country. Free education is provided to all the jail inmates,” says Prof Aslam.
The university has opened the admission window for distance-learning courses offered in the July 2014 session. The closing date for applications is June 20, 2014 and July 31, 2014 with late fee of `300. Ignou has two admission cycles – January and July. For the July 2014 intake, the university is offering courses including MCA, MA in rural development, tourism management, English, Hindi, philosophy, Gandhi and peace studies, extension and development studies, education, anthropology, gender and development studies, master of social work, distance education, economics, history, political science, psychology, public administration, sociology, adult education, MCom, master of library and information science, MSc in dietetics and food services management and counselling and family therapy.
Applications are invited for bachelor degree programmes as well such as BCA, BSc, BA, BCom, BBA and bachelor preparatory programme etc.
New courses introduced
This year Ignou has introduced four new courses – master of social work (counselling), postgraduate diploma in urban planning and development, postgraduate certificate in information and assistive technology for the instructors of visually impaired and postgraduate certificate in geo-informatics. The university has also made advances in launching vocational and professional programmes such as doctor of philosophy in biochemistry, masters of art in anthropology and masters of art in women’s and gender studies. “India has the largest population of youth in the world. They can be transformed into skilled workers through training. Therefore, the university focuses majorly on vocational training and skill development,” says prof Aslam.
Factsheet about the university
Facilities: The university has adopted a multimedia approach to instruction. The different components being — self-instructional materials, audio-visual material aids, radio and TV broadcasts counselling, interactive CD-ROM and internet-based learning, and live tele-conferencing sessions conducted via satellite through the interactive Gyan Darshan channel and broadcast on the EduSat channel from the university studios. Ignou has around 1.30 crore printed books, 1,916 audio programmes and 4,229 video programmes. It also airs educational and student support programmes through two Gyan Darshan channels and Gyan Vani FM stations
Fees: Most of the courses offered by the university are reasonably priced at about Rs. 1,000 - Rs. 40,000 per year
Placement cell: The university has an active placement cell in collaboration with HR companies which focuses on creating and matching the digital profile of the students/alumni with the requirements of various registered employers. It also profiles the students on pan-India basis which enables them to get free-of-cost alerts from various employers for six months from the date of their registration. Job melas are also organised on a regular basis
How to Apply: Student handbook and prospectus can be obtained from all the regional centres/study centres of the university for Rs. 200 or can be asked by post from the registrar, IGNOU, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi by sending a demand draft of Rs. 250. For more details, visit www.ignou.ac.in