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indira gandhi national open university Then Prime Minister, the Late Shri Rajiv Gandhi, presiding over the first IGNOU convocation in 1989


A quarter century ago, IGNOU was founded on a visionary’s belief that education was the shortest road to inclusion and empowerment in our time, but even more so in a young democracy eager to redeem the promise of real equality. Age, economic circumstance, geographical location — nothing was to come in the way of a willing citizen’s quest for education. Relevant higher education would afford millions of deprived Indians the opportunity to join the mainstream and become part of a steadily growing economy — in what was soon to become the great India growth story. The prospect was as daunting as it was exhilarating. For a majority of Indians, living in villages and small towns, just reaching a centre of higher learning was a challenge. IGNOU was an answer to the needs and aspirations of this great majority, for whom a conventional university was not an option, a correspondence course not the solution. Backed by a parliamentary mandate, IGNOU brought the idea of Open and Distance Learning to the nation. The idea was simple. Higher education wouldn’t wait for learners to come

IGNOU’s founding principles were social inclusion and democratisation of education. It was to provide a powerful alternative to the conventional system of education

“ Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai Vice-Chancellor

Former Vice-Chancellors of ignou

Prof G. Ram Reddy 1985-89

Prof V.C. Kulandaiswamy 1990-94

Prof R.G. Takwale 1995-98

to it; it would reach out to wherever they were, across the length and breadth of the country. Learners would be encouraged to learn without the physical presence of teachers. To this end, IGNOU created innovative self-learner print material, used multi-media technology to bring knowledge alive and created study centres around the country as touch points for its far-flung student base. Learners would be allowed to access the knowledge they seek, at their own desired level and, at their own unique pace. Thus was created the most flexible educational system in India, perhaps anywhere in the world — the IGNOU system — offering a vast array of courses, from certificates and diplomas all the way up to doctorates, and ensuring learner convenience through its unique ‘age no bar, place no bar, pace no bar’ mantra. In building these bridges to the unreached, IGNOU has become a pathfinder to a new generation of Indians, eager to participate in an economically resurgent New India that is demanding from its workforce ever-higher levels of knowledge and skill. Starting with two courses and 4,000 students in 1985, IGNOU has today evolved into the world’s largest, most diverse and inclusive institution, offering over 3,500 courses and catering to over 2.5 million students.

Prof A.W. Khan 1998-2000

Prof H.P. Dikshit 2001-06

November 19, 1985: Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi laying the foundation stone of IGNOU

Starting with 4,000 students in 1985, IGNOU has evolved into the world’s largest, most diverse and inclusive institution, with 2.5 million students


Better life through education One from the archives: Then Finance Minister and present Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh laying the foundation stone of the communication building and studios in April 1994


2.5 million students l 21 Schools of Study and 12 Divisions l 323 Academic Programmes l Over 3,500 courses l 45,000 Academic counsellors l Presence in 34 countries l 53 world-wide partner institutions l Largest number of foreign students among Indian universities l Tie-ups with universities in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, America l

IGNOU’s is the most flexible education system in India, perhaps the world — offering a vast array of courses, from certificates and diplomas, all the way up to doctoral programmes



1986 First Regional Centre established in Bhopal 1987 First diploma programmes — Diploma in Management & Diploma in Distance Education — launched 1987 First multilingual programme, Certificate in Food Science and Nutrition, started 1993 Staff Training and Research Institute of Distance Education established 1994 First vocational course started 1999 India’s first virtual campus created 2000 Gyan Darshan, IGNOU’s own TV channel, launched 2001 Gyan Vani, IGNOU’s dedicated FM radio channel, launched 2003 The 1-million student mark reached 2007 PAN-African e-Network Project launched 2007 11 new Schools of Study established 2009 The 2-million student mark reached 2009 First Community College started

IGNOU ensures learner convenience through its unique ‘age no bar, place no bar, pace no bar’ mantra

way forward

Becoming the ‘nation’s university’

IGNOU is committed to being accessible to ALL, to provide education without barriers, to be, in word and deed, the People's University ... the university of a billion plus Indians

People come to IGNOU hoping for a better life through education. For some, the motivation is self-enrichment, knowledge for its own sake; for others, the driver is the prospect of employment; for those already working, IGNOU holds out the promise of growth, a step up the career ladder. Over the last few years, the University has been working on a series of new and path-breaking ideas to meet these diverse and often daunting expectations. Thus many of the new programmes are being expressly aligned to the needs of industry; several new courses have been created in consultation with iconic companies such as BHEL and Larsen & Toubro. Vocational courses are being run in conjunction with employers like Apollo Hospitals who are committed to absorbing students who successfully complete the certificate course. At the other end of the scale, recognising that there is a paucity of aviation industry professionals, IGNOU has recently tied up with the Cochin International Airport Authority to conduct focused management courses in aviation and airport infrastructure and technology. The placement cell of the University is gearing up to meet employability demand through planned industry presentations and contact drives, and by working out a system of enhancing communication and personality skills, which have been identified as key need areas for several students. IGNOU does not create its courses from the ivory tower of academia. The most potent examples of how grassroots work translates into relevance are the innovative courses, designed with maximum applicability in mind, for the agricultural sector. The range of courses, from bee-keeping through organic farming to food processing, feed directly into the needs of our farmers and focus on livelihood enhancement. The awesome power of the Internet is increasingly being used to maximise student outreach, making it possible to access courses online, have exams on demand and, through the e-gyankosh initiative, make a diverse range of study material available to all at the click of a mouse. For IGNOU proudly believes that knowledge is every human being’s birthright and universal learning every university’s aspiration. In 2009, the University launched the first-ever graduate degree

open and Distance Learning practices j Open learning — policies and no or with ning lear to y entr that permit age, to ect resp with iers minimum barr with and ints stra con time gender, or recognition of prior learning. very of j Distance education — the deli are who learning or training to those e from spac separated mostly by time and those who are teaching. n of j Flexible learning — the provisio accessed be can that s nitie ortu learning opp at any place and time. cts of j Virtual education — includes aspe s goe but both online and e-learning dia and, time somewhat further... It uses mul bles a ena also besides delivering content, ners, lear ng high level of interaction amo on. trati teachers, peers and adminis — Excerpts from Vision Document, 21 Commonwealth of Learning, 2008, page

programme in Applied Sign Language for the hearing-impaired. As India strives to become a knowledge society, IGNOU works to ensure that no section gets left behind. The Army initiative is a step along this road, extending professional certification in higher learning to our jawans and officers, seeing that after retirement they will have the skills to be gainfully employed. A dynamic university in a country on the move, IGNOU is committed to continually evolving to meet the requirements of 21st century India. To be accessible to All, to provide education without barriers, to be, in word and deed, the People’s University... the university of a billion plus Indians.

IGNOU believes that knowledge is every human being’s birthright and universal learning every university’s aspiration

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