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CONTENTS Healing Hearts 4



IN FOCUS: IGNOU’s PG Diploma in Clinical Cardiology provides intensive training in cardiac care to doctors from the rural hinterlands so that they can go back and save thousands of lives

Learners’ Day at RCs 21st Convocation: 18,000 learners received 10 Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates at the Regional Centres across the country in a ceremony joined by 43 RCs via video-conferencing

NEWS SCAN....................7

NEWS UPDATE..............12

SPOTLIGHT .....................8


PASSING BY....................9

MILESTONES ................16


GYAN DARSHAN............16

IGNOU OPEN LETTER is Printed by Printek Grafix, 148-D, Pocket-F, GTB Enclave, Delhi-110093 and Published by Ravi Mohan, Chief Public Relations Officer, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Maidan Garhi. New Delhi 110068. Ph: +91-11-29535924-32; +91-11-29535062-65 Fax: +91-11-29535933; E-mail: Managing Editor: Ravi Mohan Photos: Rajesh Sharma/Amlan Paliwal

s a pioneer in Open and Distance Learning (ODL), IGNOU has been at the forefront of taking education to the doorsteps of learners for the past 25 years. It has been instrumental in reaching the unreached in the remotest parts of the country. Its inclusive nature, as well as the vital and empowering role it plays in helping millions of people reskill and upskill themselves, is well known. What is not so well known, however, is IGNOU’s impressive track record in delivering quality at the upper end of the learning spectrum — in high-end research and streams such as engineering, medicine, technology and the natural sciences. How does a primarily distance learning institution like IGNOU do this? By forging innovative alliances and networking with institutions in both the private and government sectors which helps us to optimally utilise the often stateof-the-art facilities that are available with them. Such intersector collaboration has also given us access to top-notch infrastructure that exists outside the education sector. For instance, in engineering and technology, we have collaborated with the Madhya Pradesh Council for Science and Technology and a host of other institutions. In medicine, as you will read in our cover story this month, we have tie-ups with 44 institutions across the country, including leading ones such as Escorts and the National Heart Institute. In the frontier areas of sciences, we have tie-ups with such prominent institutions as the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore (a Department of Science and Technology institution) for a residential M.Sc. Astrophysics Programme, and the Pusa Institute of Delhi, for a full-time M.Sc. Programme in Nutrition and Dietetics. IGNOU is also the key implementing institution for the ambitious National Programme for Technology-Enabled Learning (NPTEL), under which some 300 IIT and IISc professors are creating content modules that will help improve the capabilities of engineering teachers across the country. Also on the cards is a SAARC-level Science Olympiad that we are undertaking in collaboration with UNESCO, that will help popularise science among school children. With such smart networking and cross-sectoral collaborative ventures, IGNOU helps overcome the problems caused by a scarcity of seats in the higher educational sector and ensures a significant increase in the national pool of trained and employable workforce. This is a national mission, and at IGNOU, we are proud to be playing a crucial part in ensuring its success.

Advisory Council: Prof P.R. Ramanujam Design and Production: IANS Publishing


V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai


IGNOU’s 1st European PI in London


harting a new education route to Europe, IGNOU has signed an MoU with TASMAC (Training and Advanced Studies in Management and Communications), London School of Business, to open its 61st international Partner Institution (PI). TASMAC is the first foreign direct investment (FDI) in the education sector by an Indian institution in the United Kingdom. TASMAC is the trading name of TASMAC-UK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TASMAC India, with its headquarters in Pune and offices in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata. According to Dr Giri Dua, Managing Director of TASMAC, the institution is the first wholly-owned Indian subsidiary in UK’s education sector and is accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC) and licenced by the UK Border Agency (Home Office). TASMAC London is also a member of the European Council for Business Education, Study UK and the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programmes, USA. About two dozen of IGNOU’s academic programmes would be on offer at this PI that would not only benefit learners among the Indian Diaspora but also

(From left) Dr Giri Dua of TASMAC; Dr Silima Nanda, Director, International Outreach Division: VC Prof Pillai; Registrar U.S. Tolia; and Pro-VC Prof D.K. Chowdhry with the MoU.

trans-national students interested in the University’s programmes. The MoU was signed at an event presided over by Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof D.K. Chowdhry, Director of IGNOU’s International Outreach Division, Dr Silima Nanda, academics from various schools and senior officials at the University’s campus in New Delhi on March 30.

The University’s Registrar, Dr Uday Singh Tolia, signed the MoU for IGNOU and Dr Dua for TASMAC. Prof Pillai appreciated TASMAC’s efforts at imparting quality education using the innovative need-based programmes offered by IGNOU. He said these would immensely help learners to receive application-oriented courses and enhance their employability.■

ICT cluster in five S. Asian countries soon


GNOU is planning to start an Information Communication Technology (ICT) cluster in five South Asian countries for capacity-building in education sector. The University has already given a presentation outlining the details of the plan to Parliamentarians of Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, at the first-ever contact group meeting of Parliamentarians on education organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recently. “We have given a presentation on developing an ICT cluster in these countries. India will lead the action and IGNOU will be the nodal body to

implement and operate it,” Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajashekharan Pillai announced on March 28. “This will boost education, help in capacity-building and generate education content across the region,” Prof Pillai added. Earlier, Union Human Resource

Edusat can help in the formation of an ICT cluster in a big way, says VC Prof Pillai.

Development Minister Kapil Sibal told the Parliamentarians that such a cluster would help in the creation of wealth, skill development and employability. “Once implemented, IGNOU will develop e-content, facilitate virtual class-room facilities and enhance access to millions of students. From teachers’ training to making students get quality and contemporary education, everything can be done efficiently. With ICT, the countries have come closer and here, India and IGNOU can lead,” Prof Pillai said. He added that Edusat, the education satellite of India, had the potential to play a role in facilitating this effort. “An enlarged footprint of Edusat can help the cause in a major way,” he concluded.■


Dr Ashish Dave, right, at the National Heart Institute in New Delhi. Having completed a PG Diploma in Clinical Cardiology from IGNOU, Dr Dave, who hails from Bundi district, Rajasthan, now wants to serve patients in remote areas.

Healing Hearts INFOCUS IGNOU’s PG Diploma in Clinical Cardiology provides intensive training in cardiac care to doctors serving India’s rural hinterland. They return to remote villages to save thousands of lives put in danger for want of lack of speciality treatment


or Dr Neelesh Khandelwal, IGNOU’s Post-Graduate Diploma in Clinical Cardiology came as a blessing in disguise. Fresh out of R.N.T. Medical College in Udaipur, Rajasthan, Khandelwal joined a government hospital in Dungarpur, a city situated at the southernmost fringe of the state. Aghast at the absence of speciality care in hospitals in the rural hinterland, Khandelwal, an MBBS, decided to pursue a course in cardiology. When he heard about the IGNOU programme that offered exhaustive course material and training at some of the country’s best cardiac care facilities, he applied straight away. Now a second-year student of the programme, the young doctor says the training is actually better than the


learning an MD acquires in cardiology. “This programme is exhaustive in nature. An MD gets around three-months’ training in cardiac care, but in this course we spend two years at some of the best heart institutes in the country. I feel we are better placed than any regular MD,” says Khandelwal. “The doctors at the government hospital in Dungarpur do not have basic knowledge about speciality care in fields like cardiology. On top of it, the hospital lacks medical facilities to cope with any emergency,” he laments. After completing the programme at the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre in New Delhi, Khandelwal wants to go back and work in Rajasthan. “I am willing to serve the needy in the remote villages,” he adds.

“The IGNOU clinical cardiology Diploma aims to bridge the treatment gap the country is facing, especially in rural areas.” —Prof A.K. Agarwal

Dr Asim Parvez from Patna shares his views. “After completing MBBS, I found this programme a unique one from the training and practice point of view. There are very few doctors who know how to deal with heart cases and the course taught us those details — from basic cardiac anatomy to cardiovascular surgery,” says Dr Parvez, who was doing his residency at the All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in emergency medicine before joining the programme. Each year, around 15 lakh people die due to coronary heart diseases in India. While in 1960, the prevalence of heart diseases among urban Indians was 1 percent, in 1995 it had increased to 9.6 percent. The figure today stands at a prevalence rate of 12.5 percent, according to the figures provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. “It has been estimated that India lost about 9.2 million potentially productive years of life in 2000, due to premature deaths caused by cardiovascular disease in the age group of 35-64 years,” said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while addressing a conference of heart surgeons in New Delhi recently. It was 1.6 million years in the United States and 6.6 million years in China, he added. Productive years are the number of working years a country is deprived of

when a citizen dies before age 60. Despite these fatal numbers, there is dearth of heart specialists in the country and India produces merely 150 qualified doctors in cardiology each year. Most of these trained specialists get employed or start practising in Metros or Tier-II cities. This deprives a huge population from getting benefits of cardiology expertise. The IGNOU Clinical Cardiology Diploma, which is now being successfully disseminated at 44 cardiac care centres across the country, aims at bridging the massive treatment gap the country is facing, especially in rural areas, says Prof A.K. Agarwal, senior professor at the University’s School of Health Sciences and Programme Coordinator. “The situation in our country at present is such that only 100-125 students qualify for the cardiology superspecialisation. There is a great demand, but the specialised doctors prefer to settle down in Metros. This leaves around 70 percent of patients at the district


Here is the list of Programme Study Centres for the PG Diploma in Clinical Cardiology: New Delhi/National Capital Region ! Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre ! Max Heart and Vascular Institute ! National Heart Institute ! Batra Hospital & Medical Research Centre ! Fortis Escort Hospital & Research Centre ! Metro Group of Hospitals and Heart Institute ! Fortis Hospital ! Delhi Heart and Lung Institute ! Shri Balaji Action Medical Institute

Jharkhand ! Abdur Razaque Ansari Memorial ! Weavers Hospital (Ranchi)

Karnataka ! Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Heart Centre ! M.S. Ramaiah Medical College and Teaching Hospital ! St. John’s Medical College Hospital ! A.J. Hospital & Research Centre ! Vikram Hospital & Heart Care ! Narayan Hrudayalaya Institute of

Dis-heartening facts

Cardiac Sciences (all Bangalore)

150 heart specialists are

! Kerala

trained in India annually

1 out of 1,000 children in India suffers from rheumatic valvular heart disease

15 lakh people die in the country every year due to coronary heart diseases 20 million is the number of people expected to die in the Indian sub-continent by 2015 by cardiovascular diseases, says World Health Organisation

Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (Thiruvananthapuram) ! Pushpagiri Heart Institute (Cochin) West Bengal ! Rabindranath

Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences ! B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre ! Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals & Education Trust (all Kolkata)

Andhra Pradesh ! Care

Foundation ! Andhra Mahila Sabha Durgabai Deshmukh Hospital and Research Centre ! Apollo Hospitals. ! Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (all Hyderabad) ! City Cardiac Research Centre ! Usha Cardiac Centre (Vijaywada)

Tamil Nadu ! International

Centre for Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Diseases (Chennai) ! G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital (Coimbatore)

Maharashtra ! Asian

Heart Institute ! Jupiter Hospital (Mumbai)

Assam ! Assam

Medical College ! Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (Guwahati)

Madhya Pradesh ! Bombay

Hospital ! Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre (Bhopal)

Punjab ! Satguru Pratap Singh Apollo Hospital (Mohali) ! Fortis Hospital (Ludhiana)

Orissa ! Aditya

Care Hospital (Bhubaneswar)

Gujarat ! U.N.

Mehta Institute of Cardiology & Research Centre (Ahmedabad)

Rajasthan Dr M.L. Chawla (centre), Programme Coordinator Fortis-Escorts, New Delhi, with doctors during the meeting of PGDCC Programme at Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre.

! Fortis

Escort Hospital (Jaipur)


THEPROGRAMME Eligibility: MBBS Selection process: Interview (subject to change) Duration: Two years (maximum four years) Intake: July Fee: Rs 39,600 per year Seats: Maximum 10 per centre (There are 44 centres)

Training schedule Ward+OPD: Six months ECG/Stress Testing: Three months Echocardiography: Three months Special Observation: One month ICU/CCU: Two months Paediatric Cardiology (Ward+OPD): Three months Community Posting: Six months

“There are very few doctors who know how to deal with heart cases and the course taught us those details — from basic cardiac anatomy to cardiovascular surgery.” —Dr Asim Parvez, Student

Some of the doctors who pursued PG Diploma in Clinical Cardiology from the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, outside Escorts in New Delhi.

level or in rural areas deprived. It is with this intention that we welcome students from rural areas or government hospitals,” adds Agarwal. Dr Ashish Dave, who left London to pursue a PG Programme in Clinical Cardiology, agrees with him. “I would like to serve rural patients. I could have had settled down abroad but serving your countrymen is the best form of philanthropy. Kudos to IGNOU for crafting such an intensive course,” says the doctor who did the programme at the National Heart Institute, New Delhi. For this two-year programme, students must have secured good marks in their MBBS programmes and convince a panel of distinguished cardiologists and professors during a selection interview. IGNOU launched the PG Diploma in clinical cardiology in 2005 and operates out of prestigious institutions like the National Heart Institute, Escorts, Max and Fortis Hospitals (in Delhi) and several other institutions across the country (See box). The core objective of the course is to train medical graduates in clinical cardiology to deal effectively with the early recognition, management and prevention of common cardiovascular diseases (non-Invasive cardiology) and associated diseases, particularly diabetes mellitus. “The clinical diploma programme has tied up with reputed institutions. We had received demand from various state


governments for such programmes. We understood that we had to make optimal use of the existing resources in the private sector as well,” says VC Prof V.N. Rajashekharan Pillai. According to Dr D. Kahli, senior consultant at the B.M. Birla Heart Institute where 10 students are undergoing training, says that, with an increasing number of cardiac patients in India, “timely interventions from trained doctors is the need of the hour”. “No doubt that the majority of MBBS students are brilliant. They opt for an MD and go for general medicine. But we need good heart doctors. The country is facing an acute shortage of specialist doctors who can ensure timely intervention in cardiac cases,” adds Dr Kahli. As part of the training, the students work as full-time doctors, on rotation, at various wings like Echocardiography or Paediatric Cardiology, etc. They are given extensive training by the best professors using state-of-the-art equipment. Even students like Dr R.K. Jain, a medical veteran of 30 years, have opted for this specialised course. “Having worked with hospitals like AIIMS and Moolchand, I am now into private practice. I was interested in cardiology so I joined this course. It is a phenomenal attempt on part of the University to begin such a programme,” says Jain. Soon, these IGNOU students will be busy saving lives in areas where cardiac care is lacking.■



Disability courses GNOU’s National Centre for Disability Studies (NCDS) has announced admission for various special education programmes for the July session. These programmes are being conducted in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). On offer are M.Ed. and B.Ed. programmes in areas of hearing impairment, visual impairment and mental retardation, a Post-Graduate Diploma Programme (PGPD)and a Post-Graduate Certificate Programme (PGPC) in Hearing Impairment, Visual Impairment and Mental Retardation. The application forms are available till April 30. For more details, log on to

I Dr. M.C. Nair, Director, CEE, addressing the gathering at the workshop.

Curriculum Review Workshop GNOU and the Department of Information Technology, Government of India, hosted a one-day Curriculum Review Workshop on Capacity-Building Programmes for Common Service Centres (CSC) Operators and Telecentre Managers at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on March 22. The workshop was a precursor to a certificate course for telecentre


managers, to be offered by the Centre of Extension Education (CEE), from this academic session. It also discussed the modules needed to enhance the capacities of CSC operators for sustainability. The objective of the workshop was to ensure that the curriculum being developed by CEE, with, is consistent with the expectations of the stakeholders.■

M.A. in Psychology GNOU has announced the launch of two new programmes — B.A. and M.A. (Psychology) from the July session. The University invites applications for Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree, Post-Graduate Diplomas, Advance Diplomas, Diplomas, Professional Certificates, Post-Graduate Certificates, Advance Certificates, Certificates, Non-credit and Appreciation programmes. Students awaiting Class 10/12 results and those who have appeared or are appearing for Degree programmes can also apply. The last date for submission of applications at the Regional Centres for the July session is April 30.


Course duration fixed VC Prof Pillai, Prof Sunaina Kumar (second from right) and other officials at the meeting.

Stipend for learners in book publishing GNOU will facilitate a month-long training at publishing houses for learners pursuing a PG Diploma in Book Publishing, during which they will be paid a stipend of Rs 2,500. This was announced at an orientation programme for course apprenticeship at the University campus in New Delhi. For the learners, IGNOU will also provide study material in several ways — print,


audio and video, teleconferencing and face-to-face interaction — and on-the-job training at a publishing house. IGNOU has tied up with the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) and the trainees would get a joint certificate on completion of the programme. The last date for submission of application is April 30. Students may contact Prof Sunaina Kumar at (011) 29533657 for further details.■

GNOU has fixed the maximum duration of management programmes at eight years. The existing 3.81 lakh students, enrolled in Management programmes, have been asked to complete all the requirements to get Degrees/Diplomas by the December 2010 term-end examination. The Circular in this regard can be downloaded from (Students’ Zone). Re-registration for the July 2010 session is now open. The last date for submitting the re-registration form, with late fee, at the respective Regional Centres is April 20.



VC Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai and Pro-VC Dr Latha Pillai during the meeting at the University campus in New Delhi.

Confluence of Minds SPOTLIGHT IGNOU’s Convergence Scheme brings to the table the best features of the conventional education system and Open Distance Learning


hey have the infrastructure and their students have the burning desire to partake of the learning that takes place in those brickand-mortar classrooms. Yet, conventional higher educational institutes, despite the availability of facilities (at least in the evening hours, known as “idling time”), are constrained to keep the number of students under control, because the affiliating university, and the guidelines that the university adheres to, want it to be so. Which inadvertently means a cap on the number of students who can enrol for higher education. In this scenario, how does the country achieve the Eleventh Five Year Plan goal of increasing the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) by 15 per cent? Surely, innovative thinking is required, and that is what IGNOU has done in these last two years, by allying with Universities and higher education institutes to make use of their resources in the “idling time” to run IGNOU programmes. This arrangement is the called ‘Convergence Scheme’. Speaking at a recent meeting on the theme ‘IGNOU Convergence Scheme: An Initiative for Enhancement of Gross Enrolment Ratio’, Vice Chancellor Prof


V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai said: “To increase GER, we have to think radically. A large number of students can’t get admission to affiliated colleges. Schemes like Convergence help in running an additional shift.” The Convergence Scheme, conceived jointly by the University Grants Commission (UGC), IGNOU, the Distance Education Council (DEC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), is indeed radical. It envisages a rare collaborative approach between two different university systems, to offer advantages to students in myriad ways. Under the system, the Partner Institutions have the following options: ■ Enhanced Access Programme: The partner may offer any undergraduate or post-graduate programme of IGNOU, as per IGNOU guidelines. ■ Value-added Programmes: The partnering institute can enrol its undergraduate/postgraduate students or both for certificate and diploma programmes offered by IGNOU as a valueadded programme. ■ Dual Degrees: Students enrolled in partner institutions might be given the choice of simultaneously enrolling for a degree of the same level in IGNOU.

■ Joint Degrees: There’s the possibility of IGNOU offering a joint degree with a partnering university. Here, the academic programme will be jointly formulated by the two universities. The partnering institute has to provide the infrastructure, including classrooms, labs, furniture and equipment and also faculty, among other responsibilities. IGNOU provides the study material. Among IGNOU’s responsibilities are financial grants under recurring and nonrecurring heads (including an initial grant of Rs 1 lakh for setting up an office); training the partner institute in ODL and ICT, and study material.

The ground covered The scheme, which is still in its teething stage, has currently got 441 Partner A section of the audience at the ‘IGNOU Convergence Scheme’ meeting. Institutions across the country, and has received 45,000 students in its interaction is such that the distance tag at the event felt the scheme fold. It has 19 PG programmes, gets negated.” Dr Latha Pillai, while would have even greater impact 27 PG Diploma programmes, 15 clarifying that the faculty in the if, going one step ahead, not only Bachelor Programmes, 15 partnering institute need not be the same were question papers made Diploma Programmes and 29 one as for their own programmes, says, available in regional languages, Certificate Programmes, popular “They can make good use of but study materials also! courses being certificate teleconferencing and webcast facilities A point that both the programmes Lab Technician, made available by IGNOU.” Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice Teaching English, Functional Some partners are more proactive Chancellor Dr Latha Pillai English and Business Skills, than others. Dr Nirmala Vaz of Jyoti Niwas had discussed was that the and PG Diploma in “The visiting College, Bangalore, said that her tie-up Convergence Scheme would Journalism and Mass faculties take up mark a transition for the with IGNOU was smooth because “I work Communication, among a lot of case with heart and soul... If there’s any University. others. Diploma in Primary problem with study materials, I pick them Classroom interaction will Education, PG Diploma in studies. The up from IGNOU whenever I come to Delhi, bring into focus problems Higher Education and classroom and have photocopies circulated to that students might be PG Diploma in Distance interaction is students.” facing. But then, the big Education are popular Prof Y.S. Chauhan, IGNOU Coordinator, question is that of courses. such that the Christian Eminent College, Indore, said availability of faculty. distance tag Miles to go his institute took printouts from eWill the existing faculty of gets negated.” Gyankosh, gave it to the counsellor, and colleges take on the extra The scheme, by making left the option of taking printouts open available infrastructure of — Manjoo Phadke, Indira workload of the second Group of Institutes to students. shift? colleges and institutes for The cost of study material is in-built Manjoo Phadke, Director, IGNOU programmes, is a into the fee structure and, as Indira Group of Institutes, Pune, which good first step towards to increasing GER. Dr Bishwajit Purkayastha of Cachar offers MBA and MCA programmes, says Particularly if students are given the College, Silchar, Assam, says, “It is our they invite visiting faculty for the courses. option to answer questions in their own job to provide the learners with the “These are all senior people and take up a language, as Prof Pillai announced during study material at any cost.”■ lot of case studies. The classroom the meeting. Of course, members present



argery Fee, Professor of English at University of British Columbia, Canada, visited the School of Gender and Development Studies recently to deliver the lecture on ‘Intellectual Property, Women & Aboriginal stories of Contemporary Canada.’




GNOU’s Dr B.R. Ambedkar Chair on Social Change and Development organised a lecture on ‘Issues of Dalit Christians” recently. The lecture, delivered by Dr John Dayal of the National Integration Council of India, dealt with problems Dalit Christians face today.


he School of Agriculture recently invited Prof M.J. Modayil, a member of the Agricultural Scientist Recruitment Board, to deliver a lecture on ‘Time Management’. He told the gathering of activities that can be avoided to manage time effectively.




A learner receiving a degree from Banarsi Lal Chawla (second from right), father of late astronaut Kalpana Chawla; Dr Arvind Sharma; and Dr Ashok Sharma at the Convocation Ceremony held at Karnal Regional Centre. (Photo Top Right) Prof S.M. Ramasamy (right), VC, Gandhigram Rural Institute, handing over a degree to a student at Madurai RC. (Photo Right) Dr B.N. Suresh, Director, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, and Regional Director B. Sukumar handing over a degree to a student at Thiruvananthapuram RC.

RCs Celebrate

Learners’ Day 18,000 learners received Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates at the Regional Centres (RC) across the country in a Convocation Ceremony joined by 43 RCs via videoconferencing


n March 15, the University’s Convocation Day, nearly 18,000 learners received Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates at 43 Regional Centres (RC) across the country. The RCs joined the ceremony via videoconferencing. In all, 1,33,628 students received Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates this year. The Bhubaneswar RC, honoured with the Best Regional Centre in the plains award during the Convocation Day celebrations at the IGNOU Headquarters, awarded 650 students Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates. The Chief Guest, Debi Prasad Mishra, State Higher Education, Tourism and Culture Minister, praised IGNOU for offering innovative programmes to a large segment of the population. Another distinguished guest, Prof. P.C. Mohapatra, highlighted the contribution of IGNOU in national development in general and Orissa, in particular. In Madurai, nearly 470 learners from 17 districts received Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates in person. Delivering the 21st

10 IGNOU OPEN LETTER | APRIL 15, 2010 12

Regional Convocation Address of Madurai Regional Centre, Prof. S.M. Ramasamy, Vice Chancellor, Gandhigram Rural Institute, said even as the country gallops faster in hi-tech sectors like biotechnology, food science and geo-spatial technologies, the fast growth had not percolated down to reach people living at the margins, especially in rural areas. IGNOU was rendering yeomen service by providing hightech education in all possible disciplines, he added. Presenting the report card of Madurai Regional Centre, Regional Director Dr. M. Shanmugam said the centre has the privilege of having maximum learner support centres in the entire country for the B.Ed. Programme, registering an 18 per cent growth in enrollment in 2009 compared to the previous year. Nagpur Regional Centre organised the Convocation Ceremony for the first time. Prof Ved Prakash Mishra, Vice Chancellor, Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences University, Nagpur, was the Chief Guest at the event. He emphasised that the ODL

KEEP PACE WITH TECHNOLOGY (Photo Below Left) Bangalore University Vice Chancellor Dr. N. Prabhu delivering the keynote address at the ceremony held at Bangalore Regional Centre. He emphasised on the need to continuously update their knowledge to keep pace with the changing environment. (Photo Below Right) Debi Prasad Mishra, State Higher Education, Tourism and Culture Minister being honoured at the Convocation Ceremony organised by Bhubaneswar RC.


form of education was the best option in meeting the constitutional guarantee of education for all. Karnal RC awarded 314 students Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates in person. Dr. Arvind Sharma, MP, was the Chief Guest and Banarsi Lal Chawla, renowned Industrialist and father of the late Kalpana Chawla (NASA astronaut who died when Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated) was the Special Guest at the event. At the Cochin RC, renowned economist Prof Michael Tharakan delivered the convocation address to a packed auditorium of learners, academics and experts. Bangalore University Vice Chancellor Dr N. Prabhu, Guest of Honour at the Bangalore RC, said: “One must make a distinction between a University and a college or a training centre. The latter are important places of learning but a University is something more. It must be a place where knowledge is imparted and acquired.” IGNOU is the torchbearer of this dream, Dr Prabhu added.■

REACHING THE DOWNTRODDEN (Photo Above Left) Prof Michael Tharakan at the Convocation Ceremony at the Kochi Regional Centre. (Photo Above Right) Santosh Kumar, IAS, Chief Administrator, Kalahandi Balangir Koraput (KBK), with Abhilash Nayak, Regional Director, lighting the traditional lamp to inaugurate the Koraput RC’s Convocation Ceremony. Nearly 155 learners received Degrees and Diplomas at the Koraput event.

EDUCATION FOR ALL (Photo Above Left) Prof Ved Prakash Mishra, VC, Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences University, Nagpur, handing over a degree to a learner at Nagpur Regional Centre. (Photo Above Right) Learners at Nagpur RC with Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates.

Open Letter will cover the Convocation Ceremonies of other RCs as and when we receive information.



‘India needs quality physics teachers’ n an effort to give an impetus to the future of optical astronomy in India, two novel astrophysics projects — Astrosal and Tauvex — would be launched in the next two years that would provide precise results in the field of astrophysics and astronomy, said Prof Siraj Hasan, Director, Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore. Prof Hasan was speaking at the two-day Silver Jubilee seminar on ‘Recent Trends in Astronomy and Astrophysics’, at the IGNOU campus in New Delhi on March 22. Jointly organised by the School for Interdisciplinary and Trans-disciplinary Studies (SOITS) and Student Services Centre (SSC), the seminar was presided over by Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai. Tauvex is a collaborative project with Israel, said Prof Hasan. “Setting up large telescopes is beyond our capacity. It required huge funds. A consortia of several countries should be created as it is not possible to create a 30-metre or 40-metre


Prof Siraj Hasan, Director, IIA, at the seminar.

long telescope on our own,” he added. Two special lectures were part of the seminar. The first, titled ‘Galileoscope to Hyper-telescope,’ was delivered by S.K. Saha, chairman of the Board of Graduate Studies at IIA, and the second, titled ‘Discovering the Universe’, was delivered by T. Prabhu, an IIA researcher. Referring to the fact that even as

the West was caught in a sort of ideological mess in astronomy, Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof K.R. Srivathsan said that though astronomy and astrophysics were avowedly pursued by students in India, the quality of teaching in these core sciences was poor. “We need to nurture excellent teachers in astrophysics,” added Prof Srivathsan. “India needs to strengthen its efforts in creating huge data; developing physical models for teaching and learning processes; creating novel algorithms and developing state-of-theart computers,” he added. IGNOU’s MSc-PhD Programme in Physics and Astrophysics, in collaboration with the IIA, is targeted at providing a proper orientation to students from the post-graduate level, said Dr C.K. Ghosh, Director, SSC. The University is mulling more programmes on astrophysics and astronomy, said SOITS Director Prof Nandini Sinha Kapur.■

24,000 rural youths on telecom, BPO radar IS-Sparta, a learning solutions company in the private sector, has joined hands with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) to train and place 24,000 youths from poor families in the telecom and BPO sectors. The project is part of a Ministry of Rural Development initiative to increase employability of youngsters from below poverty line (BPL) families. “It is an honour to sign an MoU with IGNOU for the Ministry of Rural Development. The focus will be to help youth upgrade their skills and find suitable employment. This initiative is an example of NIS-Sparta’s commitment



towards the skill-building requirements for Indian youth,” said Gautam Roy, vice president of NIS-Sparta. IGNOU said the agreement will

“The focus will be to help youth upgrade their skills and find suitable employment.” — Gautam Roy, NIS-Sparta

channelise efforts towards ensuring youth are trained and employed. NIS-Sparta will source and train candidates in 15 states for placement in the telecom and BPO sector. They will be using information and

communication technologies extensively for blended technology-based training and to manage and control the project on a pan-India basis and train 24,000 candidates in the first phase, and place them in private sector, with the right opportunity. For the next phase, NIS is gearing up to meet a target of 100,000 beneficiaries per year under this project, covering all domains. “The training is conducted in two sectors — IT and telecom — and is a very useful scheme for the rural population. This programme will help thousands across the country,” noted C.G. Naidu, Director, School of Vocational Education and Training, IGNOU.■

To reach as many students as possible, IGNOU has developed a database of 4,00,000 learners for its SMS Services that will provide any kind of ODL information.



‘Web can save dying art of translations’ the need to re-invigorate Indian languages through appropriate adaptation of the best that foreign languages offer in their literature. In another session titled ‘Translation and the Idea of World Literature’, well-known Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi called on litterateurs to help transform the Hindi language into a pool of world literature. Writer Vishnu Khare discussed both the European and Indian trends in the modern period in literature. On March 21, a brainstorming session on ‘Translation and Colonial Encounters’ was organised. “English has, on one hand, helped the marginalised raise their voice at international fora and, on the other, has From left, Prof G.N. Devy, Dr Anamika and Vishnu Khare at various sessions during the national commercialised the translation seminar on ‘Translation and Literature’ at Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi on March 20. sector,” said noted writer Dr Anamika. Hindi scholar Prof Manager Pandey, day national seminar on ‘Translation and he key to rejuvenating the written during a session titled ‘National Literature’ at the Lalit Kala Akademi in form of literature lies in a judicious Movement and Role of Translation’, New Delhi on March 20. use of web-based technologies discussed the national movement and Dr Deo Shankar Navin, Director, School where the written text is how it inspired the process of translation supported by visual/video form that keeps of Translation Studies and Training that from one regional language to another. organised the seminar, welcomed the the interest of a young audience alive. Concluding the session, Prof Vijay speakers. In the process, the art of translation Kapoor, adviser to the Vice Chancellor, In a session titled ‘Translation and the also benefits and the bond between stressed on focusing on translation for Idea of Indian Literature,’ Prof Indra Nath translation and literature matures, said both the development of knowledge and Choudhry, a noted scholar and former eminent scholar Prof G.N. Devy while its dissemination.■ Sahitya Academi Secretary, emphasised delivering the keynote address at a two-


Democracy in Literature thriving: Prof Singh


ur democracy may be in danger, but democracy in literature is thriving. Literature does not recognise caste, gender or colour or follow the rules of society. Stressing these ideas, Prof Namwar Singh, a noted litterateur and a recipient of the Sahitya Academi Award, delivered the fourth Silver Jubilee Lecture, titled ‘The Democracy of Literature: Place of the Marginalised,’ at the University’s Convention Centre on March 30. Prof Singh presented several examples from the writings of prominent Hindi writers

Prof Namwar Singh delivering the fourth Silver Jubilee Lecture in New Delhi.

like Nirala and Sudama Pandey ‘Dhumil’. He read out poems to illustrate how they placed Dalits in their compositions. A Professor Emeritus of Hindi at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Prof Singh said the marginalised, paradoxically, have been leaders in mainstream literature and Hindi literature is no exception to the rule. Prof Shambhu Nath Singh, Director, School of Journalism and New Media Studies, said: “However much markets influence the writings, literature for the marginalised is and will be an important topic of deliberation.”■



Film fest raises disability issues


hey came, they saw and spread the word about disability as a national problem. Nearly 50 students of IGNOU’s School of Journalism and New Media Studies evaluated 48 short documentary films on disability and related issues during a two-day film festival held at the University’s Electronic Media Production Centre (EMPC) on March 18-19. The festival, that showcased documentaries ranging from 30 SOJNMS Director Prof Shambhu Nath Singh seconds to an hour in length, was addressing learners at the film festival. organised by the University in collaboration with two nonfestival. “The festival is being organised governmental organisations — ‘We at 18 venues across the country and once Care’ and ‘Brotherhood.’ the evaluation part is done, the three top “The aim of the festival was to make documentaries will be presented with the students aware of disability and awards.” related issues. They were given answer The event at IGNOU was the sixth of sheets where they rated each and every the planned series, that include IITs, BITS film on things like the idea behind the (Pilani) and other universities. film, its execution, camera work, Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan cinematography, aesthetics, etc.,” said Pillai, in his valedictory address, assured Prof Padmini Jain, who anchored the

the students that the University would provide new opportunities to work on socially relevant areas. “Disability is just not physical, mental or intellectual. Even deprivation from social inclusion is also a type of disability in Indian society. These films carry such messages,” Prof Pillai said. Films like ‘Sign Language’ (30seconds), ‘Jeevan Path’ (1-min), ‘Butterfly Wings’(30-min), ‘White Balance’ (a 48-min film on a child with Down Syndrome which showed how his family helped him lead a normal life), ‘Hausle Ki Udaan’ (13-min, filming children with different types of disabilities), ‘Waiting For You’ (5-min). were screened during the festival. “It was thrilling to notice how the new media students reacted with such verve and analytical capabilities,” said Prof Jain. SOJNMS Director Prof Shambhu Nath Singh said the awards ceremony will be hosted at the New Delhi Campus on May 3, World Disability Day.■

Contemporary writings reflect gender struggle


poet and fiction writer; eliberating on the need to Maitreyi Pushpa, a writer impart skill-based whose writing has dominantly education to women, contributed to the feminist IGNOU’s School of Gender discourse in Hindi literature; and Development Studies and Rekha Awasthi, a Hindi (SOGDS) organised a panel literary critic. discussion at the University’s “A woman can very Convention Centre recently. well articulate her rights Titled ‘Contemporary Status of through folk songs. But, Women’s Struggle, Work and Maitreyi Pushpa. unfortunately, these songs Writings,’ the event was presided are not heard by men as we over by Vice Chancellor Professor are still living in a patriarchal society,” V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai. Pushpa said. Dr Kanan added: “Patriarchy The participants in the panel discussion is a culture we have grown up with. It were Dr. Lakshmi Kanan, a renowned Tamil


can’t be thrown away in a day. If women want to kill patriarchy, they have to join men, not become female chauvinists in the process.” “SOGDS and School of Agriculture together will start a Diploma/PG Certificate in Gender, Agriculture and Sustainability. There are also plans to launch a programme in Gender and Law, jointly by SOGDS and the School of Law”, announced Prof Savita Singh, Director, SOGDS. The discussion was followed by a street play ‘Dayra’ by Sangwari, a street theatre group.■

Tna nuNbahi f fhsonat phi faeeoi nsle v ni usn phi vot a bseou ekolle fi fna t oesblat oe 48,000Gv nola fna t aNsnt oe fi h200,000 — s csp i f 152,000.




When IGNOU unites them! reeti Dhiman of CPWD and Avinash Thapa of Indian Oil Corporation thank IGNOU not just for the Degrees they have both got, but for much more. The University brought the two together during classroom interactions at the Delhi College of Arts and Commerce (DCAC) in Delhi. The two finally came to tie the knot. Seeing the value that an IGNOU education provides, Preeti proceeded to pursue a PG Degree in Hindi from the same University. “I am a translator. MBA is a professional degree and not counted for the work that I’m doing. So I needed a Master’s degree,” she says. So, the next stop is the School of Translation Studies.

P Members deliberate during the joint academic committee meeting in Chennai.

GVCC in Tamil Nadu, Orissa he Green Valley Community College (GVCC) Group, registered with IGNOU, has set up two community colleges in Tamil Nadu and one each in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The third joint academic committee meeting in Chennai recently, attended by Prof K Elumalai, School of Law (SOL), IGNOU, approved the syllabus for skillbased and job-oriented courses to be offered by these colleges. A few of these programmes are in multimedia and animation, software engineering, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), tally, laptop and mobile


phone maintenance, and garment making. The GVCC will take care of academic responsibilities like course preparation, content development, syllabus finalisation, creditisation of the programmes, programme delivery, evaluation, term-end examinations, continuous assessments, faculty development and faculty accreditation. Dr C.K. Ghosh, director, Students Services Centre, has sent the required documents to these colleges to be followed as a standard format for the creditisation scheme.■

Folk theatre of the North-East IVET, Shillong, in collaboration with IGNOU’s School of Performing and Visual Arts, organised a two-day Expert Committee meeting on formulating course guidelines for a proposed Certificate/Diploma Programme on Folk Theatre of North-East India on a modular basis. Experts from various walks of life attended the meeting held at Shillong RC on April 5-6. IIVET-Shillong Director A. Guha with experts.


‘Believe in self-study’ H

omera Ansari’s student-like persona notwithstanding, this 23-year-old lecturer in computer applications at a Varanasi college demonstrates determination and grit. “I had done a B.Com. but I wanted specialised knowledge in international business organisation, and at IGNOU, I got the opportunity to study this aspect even while working. “I believe in self-study. And the study material of IGNOU was excellent.” Her success mantra includes “blessings of elders, hard work and luck”. Her next destination? A Ph.D.


ONCAMPUS Prof Omvedt honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award

Prof Gail Omvedt paying tribute to Dr B.R. Ambedkar at IGNOU campus in New Delhi.


rofessor Gail Omvedt, Chairperson, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar Chair on Social Change and Development at IGNOU, was felicitated with the Award for Lifetime Achievement in the area of social activism by the Marathi newspaper Mahanayak recently. Prof. Omvedt has worked actively with social movements in India, including Dalit and farmers movements. The B.R. Ambedkar Chair works towards dissemination of ideas and thoughts of Dr. Ambedkar on issues like human rights, religion, philosophy including the studies in economic, history and political science.■

More Evaluation Centres set up


ver 28 lakh students across India will get their exam results faster and more conveniently as IGNOU has created six zones to decentralise evaluation of answer scripts. “IGNOU has decentralised the evaluation of answer scripts at five more zonal Evaluation Centres in Chennai, Patna, Pune, Lucknow and Guwahati, in addition to Delhi,” the University said in a statement. Consequent to decentralisation, revaluation of answer scripts, photocopies of answer scripts and early declaration of results of term-end examinations will be handled at the respective Evaluation Centres. The application form for re-evaluation of answer scripts can be submitted by the student to the respective Evaluation Centres.■

TUESDAY April 20 08:30: IGNOU-SOCE: Career Opportunities in Public Relations 14:30: NITTTR: BPL-39 — Women in Management 20:00: UGC/CEC: Ratio Analysis — I: Accounting, Bank Correlation of Coefficient: Spearman, Rothamsted: A Pioneer in Agricultural Research

Fourth VC takes over 1998: The International Conference on Collaborative and Networked Learning is held at IGNOU and a Web Meeting is organised on Internet. !Prof A.W. Khan takes over as the fourth Vice Chancellor of IGNOU. !Prof N.R. Arthnayake, Vice Chancellor, Open University of Sri Lanka, delivers the third Prof Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture titled ‘Profile of a 21st Century Distance Teacher — A Developing World Paradigm’. !The School of Continuing Education conducts teleconferencing for Women’s Empowerment Programme, prepared in collaboration with the Department of Women and Child Development and the Ministry of Human Resources Development. M.M. Joshi, Union Minister HRD, participates in the conference.

Asian Regional Conference January, 1999: IGNOU, in collaboration with NIEPA, UNESCO, NCERT, NCTE and MHRD, organises Asian Regional Conference on ‘Learning: The Treasure Within’.

Award of Excellence

IGNOU City Centre at YMCA, New Delhi.

HIGHLIGHTS SUNDAY April 18 09:30: Disha — I: Career in Sales and Marketing, Basic Bio — Technology 18:30: NIOS: 1. Nature and Scope of Business 2. Agriculture Practices 21:00: IGNOU-SOMS: Restructuring Indian Business 22:00: IGNOU/Culture: Premchand Ke Upnyas 22:30: Janthuvullo Naadee Vyavastha

MILESTONES The Treasure Within


THURSDAY April 22 08:30: IGNOU-SOH: Commonwealth Literature Today, Part-I 18:30: NIOS: 1. Self Employment 2. Animal Husbandry 20:00: C/CEC: Sound — X, The Physics of Music — II: The String Instrument, Laws of Motion — I 21:00: IGNOU-SOE: Profile of an Elementary School Children


SATURDAY April 24 05:30: UGC/CEC: Water Conservation And Harvesting 11:00: UGC/CEC: Introduction to Anthropology – I, Paithology Aur Swasthya

March, 1999: The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) confers the ‘Award of Excellence for Distance Education Material’ on IGNOU for the course titled ‘Education and Training of Elected Members of Panchayats Through Distance Mode’.

Not to be




atch a special programme on ‘Urban Survival — Women Workers’ in the Unorganized Sector at 05.30 a.m. on Thursday (April 29). Nearly 40 crore people work in the unorganised sector in India. Of them, 12 crore are women.

TUESDAY April 27 08:30: IGNOU-SOE: M.A. (Edu.) Understanding Research 16:00: IGNOU-SOCIS: BIT ADIT-89VE — The Software Engineering Concepts — An Overview

FRIDAY April 30 05:30: UGC/CEC: Ladies in Labs: Lady Behind Signals and Echoes, Plastics — I 13:00: Science/Environment/: Applications of the First Law of Thermodynamics

Open Letter April 2010  

Open Letter April 2010