The Human Resources Development (HRD) ministry has asked Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) to draw a roadmap for a yearly intake of 5 lakh students for skill development training. Ignou, the world’s largest distance education provider, is mired in a controversy for its highly contentious decision to close down more than 500 community colleges imparting skill development training.
“Frame a scheme for skill development with certification with an annual intake capacity of five lakh students that is compliant with the national skill qualification framework in next 15 days and furnish the same to the ministry for approval,” the ministry wrote to the university.
The ministry’s directive which is in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s priority on skill development raises questions at Ignou’s arbitrary decision of shutting down colleges and courses leaving more than 1.5 lakh students in a lurch, sources said.
The ministry has already appointed a three-member committee to look into the functioning of the university from 2006. Its terms of reference include scrutinising the decision of closure of a large number of courses during the tenure of vice chancellor M Aslam.
The decision to close down colleges was taken in 2012 which cited the recommendations of a high-powered committee which it said had recommended shutting down colleges and the Ignou act, 1985 which the university contended, did not give it the mandate to conduct face-to-face programmes.
Both its assertions have been questioned, with critics accusing Ignou of suppressing facts.