Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)
Talking about distance education in India, one of the first names that come to our mind is Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). The kind of work IGNOU does in this field is remarkable and many people who are not able to get an education through regular mode or cannot attend college have been immensely benefited by the courses and programmes offered by IGNOU. The University has been serving the country since decades. IGNOU is a central university situated in Maidan Garhi, New Delhi. As the name suggests, the university has been named after former Prime Minister of India Smt. Indira Gandhi. It started operations under the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act 1985 passed by the Parliament of India in the year 1985. IGNOU is operated by the central government of India. Also, it is called the largest university in the world with more than 3 million students.
Founded with the objective of serving the Indian population with the education mode of distance and open learning, IGNOU offers opportunities for higher education to the segment of society that is not well connected to the regular education system. By proving all kind of programmes through distance mode, IGNOU aims to set standards for distance education in India by encouraging people for the same. Not only teaching, the university also offers opportunities for research and training activities. Furthermore, IGNOU is also regarded as the national resource centre for promotions and maintenance of standards for distance education in India. If we talk about the global importance of Indira Gandhi National Open University, IGNOU plays an important role. IGNOU hosts the Secretariats of the SAARC Consortium on Open and Distance learning. Apart from this, IGNOU also hosts the Global Mega Universities Network (GMUNET).
IGNOU is planning on increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio through its advanced courses and high quality teaching through distance mode. Distance Learning courses from IGNOU offers education to more than 3 million students from both India and worldwide via its 21 Schools of Studies and a wide network of regional study centres with a total of 67 offices. Apart from that, IGNOU also has 2,667 learner support centres across the country. To help the students with the best possible teaching practices, IGNOU has appointed 810 faculty members and academic staff so far at the headquarters and regional centres in the country. Moreover, the university also has a total strength of 33,212 academic counsellors from various places like institutions of higher learning, professional organizations, etc. At first, IGNOU started its operations with only two academic courses in the year 1987; the programmes were Diploma in Management and Diploma in Distance Education. At that time, the total number of students was 4,528.
Furthermore, the decentralize its education serving process, IGNOU has set up five different zones names as North Zone, South Zone, East Zone, West Zone and Northeast Zone. Moreover, IGNOU has been given the responsibility of developing Draft Policy on Open and Distance Learning and Online Courses by Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).
Recognitions and Accreditations
Being one of the most trusted universities for distance and open learning in India, Indira Gandhi National Open University has been recognized and accredited by various government bodies in the country.
- The university has been granted the authority to confer degrees by Clause 5(1)(iii) of the IGNOU Act 1985.
- The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India has recognised IGNOU as a Central University.
- Moreover, the degrees offered by IGNOU are very well recognized as IGNOU is a member of the Association of Indian Universities and degrees offered by the other members of the association are considered at par.
- Furthermore, the Master of Computer Applications and Master of Business Administration programmes offered by IGNOU are recognised by the ALL India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
- In the year 1993, the Commonwealth of Learning recognised IGNOU as its first Centre of Excellence for Distance Education.
- IGNOU is authorised to operate an accreditor for open university and distance education systems in India through Distance Learning Council.
- IGNOU has approval from DEB (Distance Education Bureau) which is a part of UGC till 2017-2018.
- IGNOU has been referred by UNESCO as the largest university having more than 35 Lakhs active students and is posted on UNESCO website.
IGNOU Research Unit
Indira Gandhi National Open University started its research unit on 6th October 2008. Before the establishment of its own research division, the university used to get its research-related activities done by the Academic Coordination Division. The Research Unit of IGNOU has various objectives that include –
- The university aims at conducting Research Council and Research Council’s Standing Committee meetings for the planning of policies and frameworks for conduct of research activities
- The University aims to register and monitor all full-time and part-time MPhil and PhD candidates
- Also, IGNOU wants to engage Research Teaching Assistants under IGNOU-DEC RTA Scheme for research and teaching.
- To plan and conduct workshops/seminars on research methods for the students.
- IGNOU also encourages to facilitate a disciplined way of research-based work in the University.
IGNOU provides education in distance learning mode through its various Schools of Study that include School of Agriculture, School of Education School of Foreign Languages, School of Humanities, School of Law, Schools of Sciences, School of Tourism and Hospitality Service Management, School of Computer and Information Sciences, School of Engineering and Technology, School of Gender and Development Studies, School of Social Sciences, School of Translation Studies and Training, School of Continuing Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Journalism and New Media Studies, School of Performing Arts and Visual Arts, School of Management Sciences, School of Social Work, School of Vocational Education and Training, and so on.
IGNOU started the School of Management Studies in the year 1987 and introduced its programmes Diploma in Management as one of the first courses offered by the university. Currently, the University offers 4 programmes that include Master of Business Administration, Master of Business Administration in Banking and Finance, Diploma in Management and Certificate in NGO Management. IGNOU distance learning MBA programme is one of the best management programmes across the globe. It provides quality education through its distance learning mode and offers the flexibility of getting the education at the ease of their home. Not only in India, but IGNOU also offers its distance learning MBA programmes to several African countries through its Pan-African e-network Project. Through its School of Management Studies, IGNOU aims at providing distance learning MBA education to people who do not have the privilege of taking regular classes such as working professionals who require management qualifications to get a raise in their salary or promotions but cannot risk their jobs. Through IGNOU’s distance learning MBA programmes the aspiring candidates get a lifelong learning in various professional areas such as managerial skills, entrepreneurship, leadership skills, business development skills, etc.