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Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was established in 1985 by an Act of Parliament with the dual responsibilities of (i) enhancing access and equity to higher education through distance mode and (ii) promoting, coordinating and determining standards in open learning and distance education systems. Since then, the IGNOU has undergone rapid expansion and emerged as an international institution in the field of Open and Distance Learning. As per the provisions of the IGNOU Act, the University is to:

  • offer of degree, diploma and certificate programmes related to the needs of employment as necessary for building the economy of the country;
  • provide opportunities for higher education to a large cross-section of people, in particular the disadvantaged segments of society;
  • promote acquisition and up-gradation of knowledge and offer opportunities for training retraining in the contests of innovation and research;
  • encourage an innovative system of university level education, flexible and open with regard to methods and pace of learning, combination of courses, eligibility for enrolment, age of entry, conduct of examination and delivery of the programmes to encourage excellence; and
  • coordinate, promote, assess and accredit institutions and programmes offered by open and distance learning system as also to prevent through such measures as are considered appropriate, institutions from offering sub-standard courses and programmes.

IGNOU practices a flexible and open system of education in regard to methods and place of learning, combination of courses and eligibility for enrolment, age for entry and methods of evaluation etc. The University has adopted an integrated strategy for imparting instruction. This consists of providing print materials, audio-video, tapes, broadcast on radio and educational TV Channels, teleconferencing, video conferencing as also the face to face counselling, at its study centers located throughout the country. The University has adopted the method of continuous assessment and term-end examination for evaluation of the performance of its students enrolled in various subjects.

Educational development of North-East Region (NER) is another focus area and 10% of the Annual Plan Budget used to be extensively earmarked to the development of this region. The University has established 8 Regional Centres in the North-East Region. One of the significant focuses of IGNOU is to pay special attention to disadvantaged sections of the society and regions. The university has developed a number of programmes for women and special study centers were established in the backward areas and districts with low female literacy rate.

IGNOU makes use the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) extensively for imparting education. In addition to self-instructional printed materials, the university utilizes Audi/Video programme tapes, tele-conferencing, Gyan Vani (FM Radio), Gyan Darshan (educational TV Channels), computer networks for imparting instructions. With the launce of “One Stop Education Portal SAKSHAT’; in October 2006 by the then President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, IGNOU developed plan to use this platform, extensively to provide knowledge resources and impart education to its students.

IGNOU has a large number of programmes, ranging from purely academic to technical, professional and vocational at various levels leading to award of Competency Certificates, Diplomas, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s degree to successful candidates. Many of these programmes are modular in nature.

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IGNOU has international character and offers its programmes in other countries, which include United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain, Doha, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Maldives Nepal, Kenya, Fiji, Caribbean Islands, Samoa, Malaysia, Krgystan, Singapore and Ghana, among others. The University also offers its Distance Education Programmes in collaboration with UNESCO and International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa, in Ethopia, Liberia, Madagascar, Ghana, whereas, education programme in Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Malawi and Belize are being offered through an agreement signed with Commonwealth of Learning (COL).

The University plays an active role in SAARC consortium for Open and Distance Learning (SACODiL) and Global Mega Universities Network (GMUNET).