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FROMthe vice chancellor

CONTENTS

Recognition of Online Education for the Award of University Qualifications

WES 2011

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World 4 INFOCUS: Education Summit 2011, jointly organised by IGNOU, CSDMS and Elets Technomedia, works as a catalyst in the ongoing global renaissance in education

Project Sagardeep After a successful 10 SPOTLIGHT: partnership with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force, IGNOU joins hands with the Indian Navy for ‘Sagardeep’ project to facilitate higher education of Naval sailors

16TH G RAM REDDY

SPECIAL REPORT ..........12

MEMORIAL LECTURE ........03 MILESTONES ................16 NEWS UPDATES ............09 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: +91-11-29571000 (30 lines); +91-11-29535924-29 Fax: +91-11-29535933; E-mail: openletter@ignou.ac.in Managing Editor: Ravi Mohan Editorial Advisor: Deepak Dwivedi Photos: Rajesh Sharma/Amlan Paliwal Advisory Council: Prof P.R. Ramanujam, Dr Latha Pillai Design and Production: IANS Publishing (www.ianspublishing.com)

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t is high time that our higher education system adopts protocols and norms for recognising credits earned by online education or by virtual classroom teaching for the award of university degrees and diplomas. It is necessary for popularisation of integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education at all levels. Expanding access to education with enhancement of the quality and relevance of the teaching-learning process is the challenge before us. Development of costeffective, flexible job training and work-integrated learning programmes should also be a top priority area. Such programmes should be so designed and delivered looking at the new skill demands of the changing markets and technologies. Development of a framework for lifelong learning and technology-enabled workplace training is imperative in this context. This requires effective coordination among universities and the different government organisations responsible for the various components of the education, capacitybuilding and training systems. Recognition of what is learned in different parts of the system through a multitude of options and certifying it through appropriate assessment mechanism is a global education activity now. The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, has two major flagship programmes in educational technologies: National Programme on Technology-Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) and the National Mission of Education through ICT (NMEICT). In addition, we also have the state-of-the-art multi-gigabit Pan-India network for providing a unified, high speed network backbone - National Knowledge Network (NKN) - connecting all universities, research establishments and knowledge related institutions in the country. This is supported by the Ministry of Information Technology. The NPTEL was launched in 2006 by seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. It has developed curriculum- based video and web courses in almost all the engineering disciplines at the degree, postgraduate and research levels. It supplements and further enriches classroom lectures. It provides learning material, digitally taped classroom lectures, supplementary material and links to relevant research material. In the completed Phase I of this project, there are 260 courses available and in the running Phase II, 1,016 courses are under development. There are also some courses in basic sciences, humanities and social sciences under this project. It is a free online courseware, which is of very high quality and availed by students in large numbers. NMEICT supports self learning through virtual classes and testing services, nurtures learners through guidance and counselling. It provides opportunities for learners to explore the world of web-based knowledge resources in the from of e-books, e-journals and Open Education Resources (OER). The overall purpose of NKN is the optimal utilisation of the potential of institutions engaged in generation and dissemination of knowledge in various areas. Advanced applications in areas such as health, education, science, technology, agriculture and governance. Facilitating distance education in specialised fields is also a focussed objective of the National Knowledge Network. Several hundreds of eminent teachers, scientists and researchers are actively involved in these pathbreaking initiatives for education and research. IGNOU has an online learning platform FlexiLearn@ignou launched in 2009. It has registered more than 30,000 active users in 2010-2011. It facilitates informed learning wherein anyone can register and explore courses free of cost to gain knowledge and skills in a specific area of interest. About 800 courses are now available on IGNOU’s FlexiLearn platform. We have 10 online academic programmes where certificates, diplomas and degrees are awarded after online delivery, counselling and online examinations. IGNOU’s knowledge repository e-GyanKosh stores, index, preserves, distributes and shares the digital learning resources developed by the ODL institutions in the country. Today e-GyanKosh has emerged as one of the world’s largest educational resource repositories. It is open and available to the world as a free resource repository to facilitate self learners and empower educators. Anyone can register free of cost and access learning resources available in print and video formats. More than 2,100 courses and 1,800 video lectures are available online in the repository. Continued on Page 16


G.RAMREDDYmemorial lecture

‘Give full freedom to Panchayats’ Union Minister Prof. (Dr.) C.P. Joshi calls for adequate and active involvement of Panchayati Raj Institutions in development activities of the nation here is a need for sensitising representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) for creating a responsive, responsible, representative, transparent, accountable and dynamic local government, so that these representatives as well as the functionaries of Local Self Governments (LSG) should perceive common people as participants in the development process and not as supplicants, beneficiaries or petitioners. These were the words of Prof (Dr) C.P. Joshi, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, who delivered the 16th Prof G. Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture on ‘Rural Empowerment and Panchayati Raj Institutions’ at the Convention Centre at IGNOU campus on July 2. The minister also inaugurated the new administration building and a VIP Guest House at the University Headquarters. He also acUnion Minister for Road Transtivated the Remote Access to e-resources port and Highways Prof. (Dr.) (RATE), which empowers users, both at onC.P. Joshi delivering the 16th campus and off-campus, to get 24x7 access Prof. G. Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture at the Convention Cento e-resources, e-journals, e-books from tre on July 2. (Right) Prof. Joshi home, office, or from anywhere. RATE has inaugurating the new VC office been made open to academics, faculty, Reand VIP Guest House at IGNOU. gional Centres, Research and Teaching Assistants (RTAs), researchers and on-campus distinction of being the largest democracy students at the initial level. in the world. The most significant factor “The Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) which determines the success of LSGs is the are playing an important role in the impleparticipation of common man mentation of educational projects in the process of developand programmes in rural areas. ment,” said the minister. They can also play a significant However, he pointed out role in effective implementation of that the full potential of the distance education programmes 73rd Amendment is yet to be in rural India. The task at hand, harnessed. He said that it will therefore, is to accelerate the be realised only when the process of interaction of citfunctions, functionaries izen in general and youth “The task at hand is and funds with full freedom and women in particular are transferred to the with the Panchayati Raj Into accelerate the stitutions,” said Prof. Joshi process of interaction PRIs. “IGNOU has taken up this responsibility in all while emphasising on the of citizen in general, earnestness to cover the participative democracy and youth and unreached by democratismodel. “With the 73rd constituwomen in particular ing education in India,” he added. tional amendment and with the Panchayati “Participatory democelection to the PRIs, more Raj Institutions.” racy is needed today to than three million represen— Prof. (Dr.) C.P. Joshi, solve their problems to tatives have been elected. Union Minister for Road bring forth all the issues They have given India the Transport and Highways

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and address them. Skilled manpower is needed by 2020. When we project this, don’t we think that those in the rural areas are from the vulnerable section? If we don’t enhance their skills, how are we then going to fit in our vision?” he concluded. While marvelling the scope of education and capacity-building in India, Vice Chancellor Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai said, “With the remarkable achievements of Gyan Vani, Gyan Darshan and other internet connectivity sources of the University, IGNOU is considered to be the technological university in the country connecting millions of people. With thousands of telecentres soon coming up with the help of the University, it is going to be the national e-governance provider.” “We are the first central university to launch its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), which has now reduced the manual work of the University officials for the back office operations,” said Pro-VC Dr. Latha Pillai.■

IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JULY 15, 2011 3


Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for HRD and Information Technology, delivering the Minister’s Address at the inauguration of the World Education Summit 2011 in New Delhi on July 13.

Education For All INFocus World Education Summit 2011, jointly organised by IGNOU, Centre for Science Development and Media Studies and Elets Technomedia, works as a catalyst in the ongoing global renaissance in education

or the first time in the history of civilisation, there’s a global renaissance in education, wherein knowledge is at the forefront of all solutions. The only way to overcome the challenges faced by the planet Earth is to conquer this forefront of knowledge, and this can happen only in educational institutions. A collaborative effort amongst the educational institutions across the world is the need of the hour. These were the words of Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) and Information Technology, while inaugurating the World Education Summit 2011 (WES-2011). Jointly organised by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Centre for Science Development and Media Studies (CSDMS) and Elets Technomedia, and presented by the digitalLEARNING Magazine,

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WES 2011 was held at the Ashoka hotel in New Delhi from July 13-15. The Summit acted as a major global platform, hinged on the participatory model, bringing together policymakers across nations for dialogues, debates and deliberations upon policies, tools and methods of learning towards Education for All. WES 2011 covered education in a holistic and nuanced manner through three parallel tracks on School Education, Higher Education, and Skill Development and Vocational Education. The event was marked by conferences, exhibitions, workshops and an award ceremony. During his address, Shri Sibal emphasised on the need of mobility of students from one university to the other mid-session as well as the importance of Public Private Partnership (PPP) so that major reforms in the edu-


FIRSTperson WES 2011 THEMES Geared towards promoting an enabling environment for all vis-à-vis education, WES 2011, spread over three days, ran parallel sessions in three tracks – School Education, Higher Education, and Skill Development and Vocational Education. Each of these three tracks included the following specialised themes:

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Learning in the 21st Century: Right and Access to Education Creating Opportunities for Students with Disabilities: Role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Teachers State Policies on Education: Analyses from Across the World Role of Government in the Development and Implementation of Education Policies Case Studies of Best Practices From Across The World: School Education, Higher Education, Skill Development and Vocational Education Industry Market Trends in Education: A World-Wide Perspective Challenges in Planning, Managing, Deploying and Policy Development in e-Learning

cation system could be embarked upon. He also drew attention to the parallel system of vocational education exactly like the formal system of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). “To collaborate between the universities and impart quality education within the higher education system, you need mobility, choice and a set of standards that will allow a student from one university to easily move to another university. You need to reform the examination system and ensure that there is only one exam for children who come out of school. All these things require a whole range of reforms and a uniformity of standards within the university system. This cannot be done by the government. This has to be done by the Universities themselves, which must ensure that there’s a national goal to be achieved. The entire objective of education should be inclusive,” he said. For this to happen, we must allow Public Private Partnership and encourage the private sector to invest in education, he added. Underlining the importance of skills, Shri Sibal said that the contents of the curriculum need to be changed in order to ensure that the students have employable skills. “Vocational education should be introduced at the school level. Just as there is a CBSE degree given for academics, there should be

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Quality Assurance and Accreditation: Review of Education Programmes to Ensure Acceptable Standards of Education, Scholarship and Infrastructure Localised Learning in a Globalised Context: Capacity Building, Content and Training Public vs. the Private in Education Leadership and Knowledge Management Teacher Training Learning English, Science and Math in a Lab: Innovative, Interesting Means Virtual Lab vs. Classroom Teaching Industry-Academia Linkages and Gaps Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in Education Gross Enrollment Ratio: Perspectives from Across the World Evaluation and Assessment Pedagogy and Andragogy in ICT Mediated Classroom Industry Participation in Education: Necessity or Value Add? Skills and Information Literacy Educating their Wards: Parents’ Perspectives from Different Countries

a CBSE degree given for vocational education as well. We are developing a National Vocational Education Qualification Framework, which will be launched this year, and will set standards for vocational education so that learners are able to get a CBSE degree in vocational education.” Defining the discipline of knowledge as the acquisition of knowledge and nothing else, the minister said that the whole concept of Science, Commerce and Arts should be done away with. Children must be given the choice to easily move from one subject to another. “Why can’t a child take music with mathematics, commerce with history or geography with physics? We need to change the mindset that is ingrained in us,” he remarked. While delivering the opening address, Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai said that there is a great diversification in educational and institutional forms – from small colleges and universities of applied sciences to complex university systems and from private colleges to global online universities. “The universities are responding to the challenges inherent in the modern world and are adapting themselves with the changing times. The World Education Summit is about the changing cultures and landscape in education all over the world. It is significant that this is happening in New Delhi at a time

“The education scenario in India is going through a very good time. There is an exponential growth in the education sector, especially with the coming up of universities like IGNOU. I hope that this World Education Summit becomes a routine event now.” –Dr. M.P. Narayan, President, CSDMS

“At a time when our society is giving way to the onslaught of mechanism, there’s a need to identify the core purpose of education, both related to skills as well as the development of the brain. A new educational civilisation is the need of the hour.” —Loynpo Thakur S. Powdyel, Minister of Education, Royal Government of Bhutan

“Education is at the crossroads today. We have to move rationally and give a serious thought to quality in terms of the relevance of the national needs – both social and economic – of a particular country.” —Dr. Taseer Al Nuaimi, Minister of Education, Jordan

when there is an unprecedented and profound education change agenda in operation,” Prof Pillai said. According to him, the inter-connectedness of sectors and the establishment of institutions within these sectors should be viewed as a major strategy in achieving the targets of education at all levels. “Education today is not just about spreading knowledge and skills, but very much about developing successful networks of collaborative teaching, learning, training and capacity building. As education systems, we should focus on how people from different backgrounds of life work together to achieve success. Establishing universities, instituting reforms, creating a national vocational framework, technology integration, all these are important areas to network,” Prof Pillai said. This conference is a platform for educational institutions, corporate sector and social sector to collaborate and achieve the targets of education, he added. Other dignitaries present at the inauguration ceremony included Loynpo Thakur S. Powdyel, Minister of Education, Royal Government of Bhutan; Dr. Taseer Al Nuaimi, Minister of Education, Jordan; Dr. M.P. Narayan, President, CSDMS; and Dr. Ravi Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, digitalLEARNING Magazine.■

IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JULY 15, 2011 5


WES2011

Create global human

Resource cadre: Kalam Education system should generate employment generators and not employment seekers alone, says former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam while concluding the Summit ormer President of India and an eminent scientist Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam urged the university and school education system to create two cadres to build a global human resource, while delivering his valedictory address to conclude the World Education Summit 2011 on July 15. “First is a global cadre of skilled youth spreading knowledge of special skills and second is a global cadre of youth in higher education with expertise, which covers not only the service sector of India, but also the skilled human resource globally for employment perfection,” Dr Kalam said. “These two cadres will be required not only for powering the manufacturing and services sector of India, but also for fulfilling the skilled human resource requirements globally,” he added. While lauding the deliberations in the Summit, Dr Kalam hoped that the WES 2011 has resulted in evolution of policies, tools and methods of learning for realising the goals of Education for All in a time bound manner. “I have a message for the Summit participants. While India should be open to sharing of expertise and experience available in many nations, it should be remembered that India has 600 million youth and hence, Indian policy on education and training has to be ‘to walk on its own shadow.’ That means, India has to evolve a unique system of education with employability as focus, instead of production of a large number of graduates and secondary school personnel. This approach of education is also applicable for distance education programmes of the nation and other nations. Hence, I would like to share a few thoughts during this valedictory session on education system should generate employment generators and not employment seekers alone,” he said. Taking note of the need to bridge the gap between availability and requirement in a globalised economy, Dr Kalam said, “To bridge the gap, an interface is needed

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Former President Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam delivering the Valedictory Address on July 15.

between the education system and the needs of the three sectors of the economy. At present, India has 600 million youth under the age of 25, which will continuously grow till the year 2050. During this period, India needs a large number of talented youth with higher education for the task of knowledge acquisition, knowledge imparting, knowledge creation and knowledge sharing towards national development missions.” While explaining one’s attitude towards entrepreneurship, Dr Kalam emphasised upon the moral conduct of the students, “They should know how to calculate risks but with righteousness. Moral leadership requires capability and disposition to do right things. In all schools and colleges this is essential for capacity building. All schools should introduce a moral science class in their curriculum.” “Information which is static doesn’t grow, but that which is circulated ensures innovation. Management of knowledge should move out of the realm of an individ-

ual and a student should know how to work collectively,” he said. Touching upon the issue of capacity building, Dr Kalam remarked, “For participating in the nation building tasks, the capacities required to be built among the students in their formative years by the educational institutions are: The capacity for research or inquiry; the capacity for creativity and innovation; the capacity to use high technology; the capacity for entrepreneurial leadership; and the capacity for moral leadership.” While concluding his address, Dr Kalam explained that education in its real sense is the pursuit of truth. “Education is the endless journey where there is no scope for hatred or disharmony. It is an asset to the universe. It transforms a human being into a wholesome whole, a noble soul and an asset to the universe. If only the real sense of education could be realised by each individual, and carried forward in every field of human activity, the world would be such a better place to live in,” he concluded.■


WES2011

Desire to innovate, research must, says Vibha Puri Das nowledge institutions have to be at the centre of the host communities in order to innovate and create new knowledge. Therefore, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has tied up with the Ministry of Science and Technology for an increase in the level of fellowship, so that research output is much higher. Each ministry must have a certain percentage devoted to ensure research,” said Vibha Puri Das, Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource and Dr. Narendra Jadhav and Vibha Puri Das at the World Development, Government of Education Summit 2011. India, during the second day of the also in terms of the optical fiber network. World Education Summit 2011. Discussing the main issues of the 12th Delivering the Keynote Address at the Five Year Plan, Das talked about India’s edusession on Global Education Leaders’ Concation scenario in context with the alarming clave – Bridging Barriers: Harmonising Global school drop-out numbers, along with facilitatEfforts Towards Achieving Education for All, ing private investment in higher education. she emphasised upon connectivity not only “Consolidation is the key word in the among institutions in terms of humans, but

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12th Five Year Plan to confront the challenges that the institutions of higher learning in India are lacking in critical mass of student and faculty. Out of the 76 lakh school pass outs, only 36 percent make it to the higher learning institutes,” said Das. “A year after the Right To Education (RTE) was launched, the dropout rates have been much higher. Only 36 percent of the school dropouts make it to the higher education. We are looking at these numbers and strategies to ensure that the dropout rate is not allowed to continue. The National Knowledge Commission and Yashpal Committee have also steered our thinking to enhance the reach of higher education. A system based on self disclosure rather than verification is needed to enhance and assure the quality,” she added. Dr Narendra Jadhav, Member, Planning Commission and Member, National Advisory Council, Govt. of India, also delineated his vision for the education sector for the next 12th Five Year Plan, and said that educational skill development and health are the two high priority sectors in resource education. “Identification of viable Public Private Partnership (PPP) model is now well recognised, but one of the contentious issues is the non-profit tag in education sector. There should be industry-academia interface to meet the challenges in the global market, along with the entry of foreign education providers,” he said.■

IN FRAMES 1. The IGNOU stall at the exhibition area. 2. Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi interacting with guests at a session. 3. Pro-VC Prof. K.R. Srivathsan addressing a special session on ‘Open Universities in the Digital Era’. 4. Loynpo Thakur S. Powdyel at the NIOS stall in the exhibition area. 5. A panel discussion on ‘Imperatives for Growth in a Knowledge Economy’ in progress.

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WES2011

VC Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Kris Srikkanth, Dr. M.P. Narayan and Loynpo Thakur S. Powdyel with the award winners.

IGNOU torchbearer in training unskilled workforce IGNOU, CSDMS and Elets Technomedia jointly distribute World Education Awards to acknowledge unique and innovative initiatives in the field of education globally he Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) once again proved that it is at the forefront when it comes to boosting employability of people and enhancing the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) of the country. The University added another feather to its cap by winning the the Best Public Choice Award for Innovation in Vocational Education and Skills Training at the World Education Awards 2011. IGNOU, in association with the Centre for Science Development and Media Studies (CSDMS) and Elets Technomedia, distributed 42 awards at the World Education Summit 2011 to eminent educational institutions. The World Education Awards have been instituted with the aim of felicitating and acknowledging unique and innovative initiatives in the field of education globally and were given away during the World Education Summit 2011. The awards were divided into the categories of School Education, Higher Education, Vocational Education, Government Initiatives and Private Initiatives. The nominated projects were screened under two categories –

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Public Choice Award and Jury Choice Award. Under the School Education category, the Tagore International School received the Best Public Choice Award for Global Collaborative Learning for its Destination Success e-learning Programme, while The American School of Bombay bagged the Best Jury Award for Initiative for Enabling ICT in Schools. In the Vocational Education category, NIIT Ltd. received the Public Choice Award for Public Private Partnership in Vocational Education and Skills Training, while IGNOU

An IGNOU representative receiving the Public Choice Award for Innovation in Vocational Education and Skills Training.

got the Public Choice Award for Innovation in Vocational Education and Skills Training for the IGNOU-HHML Motorcycle Technicians Competency Development Project. In the Higher Education category, the SP Jain Center of Management bagged the Best Public Choice Award for Higher Education Institute to Provide Global Student Exposure, while Jamia Millia Islamia received the Best Jury Award for ICT-Enabled Higher Education Institute of the Year. Private players such as Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt Ltd, Educomp Solutions. Ltd., HCL Learning, Pearson Education Services, Mahendra Educational Pvt. Ltd, among others, were awarded in the category of Private Sector Initiatives. The awards were given away by Special Guests of Honour Loynpo Thakur S. Powdyel, Minister of Education, Royal Government of Bhutan; Dr. Taseer Al Nuaimi, Minister of Education, Jordan; and Kris Srikkanth, Chairman, Selection Committee of BCCI, along with Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai and Dr Ravi Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, digitalLEARNING Magazine.â–


NEWSscan

Routine immunisation lessons for media IGNOU, UNICEF to reach out to national, state and district media through strategic and interactive workshops on routine immunisation n an effort to improve the media’s reporting on immunisation and spread awareness, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and UNICEF have launched a unique drive to educate grassroots-level media professionals on routine immunisation. Under the partnership, IGNOU will provide its robust video-conferencing facilities to reach out to national, state and district media in strategic and interactive workshops on routine immunisation. The initiative was inaugurated simultaneously in Delhi, Bhopal and Jabalpur using the videoconferencing studios of IGNOU. National media from IGNOU’s Gyan Darshan Delhi studio connected with over 80 state and district level media gathered at its Bhopal and Jabalpur centres. Two additional media workshops are planned from June 2011 to Februar y 2012, building a core network of media reporting on routine immunisation. These will culminate in a national level congregation later this year. “In partnership with UNICEF, IGNOU is committed to creating awareness among journalists so they can encourage and in-

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Dignitaries at the launch of the National Media Consultation on Routine Immunisation and Inclusive Development at the IGNOU Headquarters on June 27.

form the public on important issues such as immunisation and other developmental priorities,” said Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai. Speaking at the launch, David McLoughlin, Deputy Representative, UNICEF India, remarked, “Through this partnership, we hope to ensure that all children can enjoy

IGNOU-Sun Online portal to empower job seekers GNOU’s National Centre for Innovation in Distance Education (NCIDE) has signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC) with former Indian cricket captain, Krishnamachari Srikkanth’s Sun Online Learning India Pvt. Ltd (SOLIPL) to offer career enhancement modules. The MoC will lead to the launch of an electronic career guidance portal www.CareerStrokes.com, paving way for IGNOU learners to empower and equip themselves with the career-enhancement modules offered by the portal. “The portal offers a range of modules required for career enhancement. The modules draw extensive mileage from cricket in an effort to make learning a pleasant experience,” Srikkanth said. Vice Chancellor Prof V.N Rajasekharan Pillai said, “This portal has all the elements

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a healthy life, no matter what their socioeconomic background.” While welcoming the guests, Professor Shambhu Nath Singh, Director, School of Journalism & New Media Studies (SOJNMS), IGNOU, said that this effort involves an innovative use of technology to train grassroots journalists in India.■

IGNOU, BSNL join hands for quality education, training GNOU has signed an MoU with India’s largest telecom services provider BSNL to carry out technology enhanced education and training activities across the nation. The MoU, signed on July 27, aims to combine the technology, nation-wide network and services capabilities of BSNL on the one part and the capabilities and experience of IGNOU in managing the largest education network on the other part. According to the agreement, the two parties will work closely with national missions of Govt. of India like the National Knowledge Network (NKN), National Mission in Education through ICT (NME-ICT), National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) and such others and promote their objectives.

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The MoC signing ceremony underway at IGNOU.

which would definitely facilitate learners.” According to NCIDE Director Dr C.K. Ghosh, dissemination for career guidance and soft skills through the language of cricket is an innovation and the centre feels privileged to be a part of this innovative enterprise.■

IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JULY 15, 2011 9


SPOTlight

Vice Chancellor Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Admiral Nirmal Verma, Chief of the Indian Navy, and Vice Admiral M.P. Muralidharan, Chief of Personnel, Indian Navy, at the MoU signing ceremony in New Delhi on June 24.

SAIL THROUGH THE WORLD OF KNOWLEDGE

After a successful partnership with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force, IGNOU joins hands with the Indian Navy for ‘Sagardeep’ Project to facilitate higher education of Naval sailors

n order to improve second-career oppor tunities for sailors, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has launched a programme in association with the Indian Navy to award educational degrees to its personnel in the technical and professional trades they pursue during ser vice. The programme, Sagardeep, facilitates award of graduation degrees to sailors recognising their professional and skilloriented training in 19 naval institutions that will act as autonomous Community Colleges with flexible curriculum and learning aids.

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The scheme will function in accordance with the norms and standards laid down by IGNOU and will provide an opportunity to the sailors to land a job in their respective trades in the civilian sector after they retire in their mid-30s, to help maintain the youthful profile of the armed forces. Under Sagardeep, the naval personnel will acquire professional qualifications in various fields such as navigation, aviation, diving, hydrography, logistics and communication, apar t from degrees in hotel management, security and business administration sectors. A Memorandum of Understanding

(MoU) for Sagardeep was signed by Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai and the Indian Navy’s Chief of Personnel, Vice Admiral M.P. Muralidharan, in the presence of Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma in New Delhi on June 24. According to the MoU, in order to get a three year graduation degree, a sailor will be required to earn a total of 96 credits, i.e. 32 credits for each year of the degree course. Of these, 64 credits (equal to two years of graduation degree) will be on the basis of naval training undergone by the sailor in the initial 10 years of his service in the Navy. An individual will be permitted


institution that is accepted and acknowlat the naval training instituto take his third year of graduedged in the civil world. While many tions. ation degree with IGNOU only sailors acquire such degrees on their Admiral Verma, in his adafter having obtained an Assoown, the signing of the MoU for project dress, pointed out that alciate Degree with Navy-IGNOU Sagardeep will enable all sailors to fulfill though the armed forces are Community Colleges (NICC), their educational needs and aspirations,” a professional fighting force, within five years of having comhe added. what sets them apar t pleted his Associate DePro-Vice Chancellor Dr Latha Pillai noted from other institutions is gree. IGNOU would offer “The signing of the the investment made in that the collaboration with the Indian Navy various ‘Associate Degree’ MoU for Project was a “new voyage” that the university training personnel, and edprogrammes, finally leading was embarking on, which “will hopefully to award of Bachelor’s de- Sagardeep will enable ucating and looking after touch the lives of many young sailors”. their welfare. gree. The degrees awarded all sailors to fulfill Sagardeep would take formal educa“While effor ts to get would be identical to those their educational tion to the sailors through online prothem a second career are awarded to students for unneeds and grammes and mentoring, apar t from made through various redergoing IGNOU’s proaspirations.” on-demand examination and video confersettlement courses, an grammes. — Admiral Nirmal Verma, ences, all facilitated in the naval personasset that many of them Prof Pillai noted that Chief of Naval Staff, nel’s “natural habitat, the sea,” she lacked was an educational Sagardeep was “a ver y imIndian Navy added.■ degree from a recognised por tant, unique and novel scheme”. “IGNOU is aware of the quality and rigour of training and education Indian Navy provides its sailors. It is ser vice-inNaval Training Units as Navy-IGNOU Community Colleges tegrated learning. It should be appropriately recognised and they should get lINS Chilka lINHS Asvini lSFNA lINS Dronacharya lASW School lND School lShip Wright opportunity for vertical mobility,” he said. School lINS Hamla lNIAT lMusician Trg School lSignal School Prof Pillai fur ther noted that IGNOU, lIN PT School lINS Satavahana lDiving School lINS Shivaji lRegulating School lINS too, was benefiting by the collaboration Valsura lSNOM lNational Institute of Hydrography with the Indian Navy in that it would gain from the technological domain knowledge

NEWSscan

IGNOU successfully implements ERP

BHEL recognition for IGNOU’s Associate Degree

GNOU is the first central university in the country to have implemented Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) successfully, integrating all its back office processes at it’s Headquarters in New Delhi. The five-year project was started in the last quarter of 2007. Now, all the transactions are captured centrally in ORACLE database, giving rise to consistent and authenticated data flow and MIS. The work has been accomplished using PeopleSoft modules, FSCM and HRMS through Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as the system integrator. “We are the first central university to launch its ERP, which now has reduced the manual work of the university officials for the back office operations,” said Pro-VC Dr Latha Pillai while addressing the gathering at the 16th Professor G. Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture. The innovative design of the system has brought together all the human resource and accounting activities in a

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Pro-VC Dr. Latha Pillai at the 16th Professor G. Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture.

centralised database, integrating all of its 21 Schools of Studies and about another 25 Divisions/Centres/Units. “Changing the mindset and implementing a new system to get everyone on the same platform while working parallely with the same set of users is the most challenging part of ERP projects,” said Joint Director (ERP) Wg. Cdr. (Retd.) Arun Verma. “It’s the time to get further processes, including those at Regional Centres and Learner Centres, automated and integrated,” said Dr V.S.P. Srivastav, Head, Computer Division.■

he Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has recognised the Associate Degree given by IGNOU through its Community College Scheme, thus making the students eligible for employment in their corporation. B. Shankar, Executive Director (HR & CC), BHEL, informed Dr. S.A. Pillai, Managing Director, NOU-Institute of Industrial Management for Safety, Health and Environment (IIMSHE) Community College at Bhopal that the Associate Degree in Engineering (ADP) in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (Advanced Diploma) awarded by IGNOU is now equivalent to Diploma in Engineering for induction in BHEL as supervisors.

IGNOU student gets UPSC post

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r B.C. Rathore, a student of IGNOU’s Master of Intellectual Property Law (MIPL), has been selected for the post of Deputy Registrar (Trade Marks & Geographical Indications) by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). In addition, the WIPO Worldwide Academy has selected Dr Rathore for the award of WIPO-UNISA Scholarship for a two-year ‘Intellectual Property Specialisation Programme’ at the University of South Africa (UNISA). “These achievements could not have been possible without the support and positive encouragement of the entire MIPL team at IGNOU,” he said.

IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JULY 15, 2011 11


SPECIALreport Reforms, flexibility, outreach...

‘Success Story at all levels’ The Indira Gandhi National Open University has witnessed unprecedented structural reforms at all levels in the last five years. Behind this accelerated growth is Vice Chancellor Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai’s vision, who has rigourosly worked towards making IGNOU a People’s University, in the true sense of the term. Excerpts from an exclusive interview. n a country where access to basic education is still a dream to many people, open systems of learning can be of great value. How far does IGNOU fit the bill in this context? IGNOU is harnessing the potential of the open learning and distance education system most effectively to address the basic issue of providing education, relevant knowledge, skills and training to vast and diverse sections of society. In addition to providing scalable models of quality teaching-learning, starting with 4,000 students in 1987, the university has evolved into being the world’s largest, most diverse and inclusive educational institution, with about four million students on its rolls at present. Looking at the breadth and depth of IGNOU’s activities in recent years, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) described it as a “living embodiment

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12 IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JULY 15, 2011

of inclusive knowledge societies in a globalised world”. IGNOU is definitely a success story in the democratisation of education and training at all levels. You have been credited with instituting many structural reforms in IGNOU. Yes, I encouraged reforms at all levels -- systemic, academic and administrative. To a significant extent, I could transform the University with the unstinting support of the academic and administrative staff. I don’t think I have made any major change in the structure of the University. But coming from a comparatively rigid regular university system with over 36 years of working experience, I realised there was a lot of space for experimentation and innovation within these “structures” of IGNOU. I utilised this space effectively and it yielded the much-desired results without conflicting with the set ob-

jectives of the University. Partnering with the Central and State governments in their various developmental schemes in the education, health, social and corporate sectors and designing education and training programmes accordingly was a major, unprecedented intervention, which necessitated structural refinements within the university system. The adoption of the Government of India guidelines for public-private partnership in creating infrastructural facilities to expand the Regional Centre-Study Centre network of the university across the country and abroad was one of the first initiatives I took in 2007. At present, we have over 3,000 Study Centres directly managed by us (without franchisees), as compared to 1,400 in 2006. Regional Centres increased from 37 to 61 during this period. Other major achievements include the es-


tablishment of 11 new Schools of Studies and the National Centre for Disability Studies; the introduction of full-time Research and Teaching Assistantships (RTA) for bright, fresh post-graduates; innovative technology-enabled education delivery platforms such as eGyankosh and Flexilearn@ignou; education and certification programmes for the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy; rural ICT capacity building and strengthening; an Assessment and Certification of Prior Learning (ACPL) programme; the Centre for Traditional Knowledge Systems; an IGNOU-UNESCO Science Olympiad to promote science learning among schoolchildren; the decentralisation of study material distribution as well as evaluation; the annual Students’ Satisfaction Survey; statutory changes for declaring results within 45 days after Term-End Examination; On-demand Examination; and two convocations per year. The introduction of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in administration and finance was a major achievement during the 11th Plan. Have your efforts shown desirable results? Yes, in many areas. Timely distribution of study material is happening after the decentralisation process. The quality of studentsupport services has been considerably enhanced with online, Internet and mobile services. The reach of our educational broadcasting, both radio and video, is now more than 12 times, with Direct-to-Home (DTH) facilitation in four years. All our study

Looking at the breadth and depth of IGNOU’s activities in recent years, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) described it as a ‘living embodiment of inclusive knowledge societies in a globalised world’. IGNOU is definitely a success story in the democratisation of education.

material, video and radio lessons, are now available on the Internet. Conferences, convocations, lectures and public functions are telecast and webcast. For the past two sessions, results have be declared within 45 days of the examinations. Grade cards as well as final degrees could be distributed in 90 days. Almost all our self-learning printed material are now digitised and we have the largest Open Education Resource (OER) repository in the world now. The establishment of the Pan-African e-Network in 2007 and its transformation to the proposed IndiaAfrica Virtual University (IAVU) is a significant achievement in our international activities.

In the disability sector, the starting of a degree programme in sign language for teachers of the hearing impaired has led to the setting up of an Indian Sign Language Research and Training Institute, the first of its kind in the country. All our new buildings are completely disabled-friendly. You emphasised the need to ensure maximum flexibility in the functioning of the university… An innovative system for providing knowledge and skills must be the overall objective of an open university. Such a system should be flexible and open with regard to the methods and pace of learning, combination of courses, eligibility for enrollment, age of entry and mode of examination, and the delivery of the programme. Such flexibility is inbuilt in the IGNOU Act. This has brought about an unprecedented transformation in the IGNOU system for which, to my knowledge, there is no parallel. This is necessary to provide education to large segments of the population, particularly, the disadvantaged groups. This facilitation has helped education and training in the various arts, crafts and skills of the country, and in raising their quality and improving their availability to the people. It has also helped in the establishment of a Centre for Traditional Knowledge Systems and the introduction of programmes such asCertificate in Indigenous Art Practices (CIAP) and Assessment and Certification of Prior Learning (ACPL). The Centre for Corpo-

Air Officer-In-charge (Personnel) Air Marshal K.J. Mathews, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, VC Prof. Pillai and Pro-VC Dr. Latha Pillai at the MoU signing for Akashdeep Project in New Delhi.

IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JULY 15, 2011 13


Empowering Armed Forces

IGNOU has successfully collaborated with the Indian Forces: Gyandeep Project with the Indian Army; Akashdeep Project with the Indian Air Force; and Sagardeep Project with the Indian Navy.

rate Education Training and Consultancy (CCETC) was started in 2008 to offer flexible and need-based education, training, and certification programmes at all levels looking at the requirements of the growing corporate sector. The Bombay Stock Exchange has instituted a Chair for Corporate Education and Financial Securities in the University. Most learners in this University are working people. What does IGNOU do to attract this section? Understanding the rapidly changing profile of the workplace, the University has revised the education and training modules by involving industry and social sector experts and delivered them in worker-friendly modes. We have also gathered inputs from the Central Board for Workers Education, and Indian and international labour institutes for such innovations. In fact, we have started an exclusive Post-Graduate programme in Labour Studies in the 11th Plan for generating theoretical and developmental insights for workers’ education. What is the idea of community college that you mooted? Has it started functioning? The Community College Scheme of IGNOU has picked up very well in the country. IGNOU has about 600 Community Colleges, with nearly two lakh students pursuing vocational education, skill development and work-integrated learning on full-time, parttime and spare-time basis. You incorporated innovative ideas such as a special programme for the disabled population into the University’s functioning. How was it conceived and implemented?

14 IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JULY 15, 2011

What other such ideas have you tried to implement? IGNOU started a National Centre for Disability Studies (NCDS) in 2006. The overall objective of this Centre is to train human resources in various areas related to the disability sector. The Centre collaborates with the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) and a number of institutions in the country that are engaged in teaching, training and research in the area of disability. The Staff Training and Research Institute in Distance Education (STRIDE) at IGNOU and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), United Kingdom, worked together to systematically develop new approaches to distance education in the sign language medium. One of the key achievements of this U.K.-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI) was the launch of IGNOU’s B.A. Programme in Applied Sign Language. We started this programme in 2009. Now there are three batches with learners from India, Africa, China, Nepal and Malaysia. The pioneering efforts of Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof P.R. Ramanujam, then Director of STRIDE, are laudable in this context. Other innovations are in creating a knowledge repository to store, preserve, index, distribute and share the digital learning resources developed by the distance education institutions in the country. Known as eGyankosh, this has emerged as one of the largest educational repositories in the world. Over 95 per cent of the self-instructional print material (about 50,000 volumes) has already been digitised and uploaded. Technological interventions such as the online platform www.ignouflexilearn.ac.in, the Advanced Centre for Informatics and Innova-

tive Learning (ACIIL), the Open Distributed Technology Enhanced Learning (ODTEL), the National Open and Distance Learning Network (NODLINET) and the Inter-University Consortium (IUC) for Technology Enabled Education have proved to be very effective in enhancing the quality and reach of learning. Has IGNOU been able to expand its reach in terms of the number of students and courses in the last five years? The number of learners, teachers, researchers, consultants, administrative and technical staff, programmes, courses, modules, and audio and video lessons has increased at an unprecedented rate in the last four years. We have about four million students now in contrast to 1.25 million in 2007. The academic programmes have increased from 125 to more than 500 during this period. The corresponding number of courses is more than 5,500. The number of students who received Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees at the 22nd Convocation is about 2.25 lakh, in contrast to just over one lakh in the previous year. We have partnered with almost all government departments and designed new teaching and training programmes to suit the development needs of the country. We have extended our collaboration with public and private educational institutions at national and international levels as well as with other sectors such as health, IT, corporate, and rural development. In social sectors, too, we have fruitful collaborations like the one with Panchayati Raj Institutions. Primary education is a huge problem in India. Do you support a universal education system


I encouraged reforms at all levels -- systemic, academic and administrative. I don’t think I have made any major change in the structure of the University. I realised there was a lot of space for experimentation and innovation within these “structures”. With the unstinting support of the academic and administrative staff, I utilised this space effectively and it yielded the much-desired results without conflicting with the set objectives of the University.

here? How do you think IGNOU, a higher education centre, can collaborate with various States in effecting this programme? IGNOU supports the universal primary education system of the country in a big way. The quality and quantity of teacher training is the most serious area of concern in achieving universal primary or secondary education. For the last few years, IGNOU has been providing a technology-enabled distance education support to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme both at the Centre and the States. Recently, we created five institutes for Competency Advancement of Teachers (i-CAT) through technology in the five geographic regions of the country. What was the vision you had for IGNOU when you joined? IGNOU had been progressing in the right perspective with a clear vision. What I wanted to do was to consolidate the multifarious activities IGNOU has been doing and also to work with the 11th Plan education expansion activities. Offering opportunities to bright post-graduates for full-time research in core domains, along with teaching, has been one of my top priorities. In this context, the Research and Teaching Assistantship (RTA) scheme was introduced for the first time in the country. After four years, we have about 150 such qualitytrained potential teachers who can serve the conventional or the distance education system effectively. I consider this a major achievement of the University in the 11th

Plan. Skill development through the Community College Scheme, the establishment of 11 new schools and a number of Chairs in special areas have resulted in meaningful, quality-oriented expansion of the University. In India, education is still a secondary requirement for the poor, who think of their children as productive members. Do you have plans to address this section? We do have interventions in this area. Our skill development programmes through Community Colleges consist of interventions in poverty alleviation and nutrition security. The School of Agriculture, the Chair for Sustainable Development, headed by eminent agricultural scientist Prof M.S. Swaminathan, and the School of Extension and Development Studies collaborate with national and international developmental agencies to devise short-term and long-term strategies to address these pressing issues. How does IGNOU frame its curriculum, considering it has a large number of courses compared to any other university? The framing of the curriculum and the development of study material are done most rigorously and scientifically at IGNOU. Several people from premier institutions are engaged as experts, course writers and editors for each and every module, course and programme. Only after the preparation of the entire study material and accompanying video and audio lesson preparations is a programme launched by IGNOU.

This makes IGNOU study material the best in quality. Several hundreds of experienced teachers from all over the countr y have been involved in designing and developing the curriculum in addition to the full-time work of our 800-strong highly qualified and experienced teaching fraternity. What challenges have you faced as the Vice Chancellor of IGNOU? What are your plans ahead? The challenges I faced were mainly related to people’s apprehensions arising from the fear of change. To a great extent I could manage the change and alleviate the fear and apprehensions by extensive consultations and continuous dialogue with all stakeholders. When I discussed the University’s expansion plans in line with the 11th Plan with my colleagues, there were, rightly, apprehensions that such an expansion could only lead to the deterioration of quality. Therefore, I concentrated on systematic consolidation with stepwise expansion. Technological support was considerably enhanced. A large number of teachers and consultants were appointed. External experts were engaged in a huge way. School boards, expert committees and the Academic Council met very frequently. Above all, independent initiatives at all levels, both in academic and administrative set-ups, were encouraged and promoted.■ Interview courtesy: Frontline Magazine

On The World Map

IGNOU learners at the second graduation ceremony of St. Mary’s University College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JULY 15, 2011 15


FROMthe vice chancellor Continued from Page 2

MILEStoneS

...Video programmes are being provided through a special channel of IGNOU in YouTube with the metadata link. The repository also has a wiki for collaborative content generation. Live educational programmes are available through the webcasting platform. After its launch in 2008, the site has already received over 1.5 million hits, with an average of 400 visits per day from all over the world. There are 1,09,911 active registered users of the repository. The statistics clearly indicate the growing popularity of e-GyanKosh. The e-GyanKosh team has also developed an in-house e-learning platform for delivery of online programmes. Twenty-seven online programmes have been launched by the University using this platform. At present, there are 3,315 registered students for online programmes. The platform provides a complete Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) covering all the activities, from registration to certification. In addition to these major projects of the Government and IGNOU, there are several schemes on ICT integration, online education and online training by a number of Universities and Corporates. It is very important that these schemes penetrate into our classrooms in a big way. As of now, there is not even a single online degree or online diploma recognised by the University system, either in full or in partial fulfillment for the award of a qualification. Teaching, learning, examination and certification through online and virtual classrooms need to be systematically introduced in our curriculum and examinations. Maybe, to start with, it can be a definite percentage of the core curriculum in all our teaching programmes. For a second degree or an additional value addition course, online education can be considered as a full option. For popularisation of the process of ICT integration in learning, we need to move ahead in these directions.

V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai

Vice Chancellor Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai being felicitated by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasmi, Crown Prince of Ras-AlKhaimah, at the official launch of IGNOU programmes at Wisdom Business School (WBS) FZE, the latest division of the Wisdom Educational Group, in Ras-Al- Khaimah, UAE, on July 9.

GYAN DARSHAN

HIGHLIGHTS

16th Convocation Workshop on Research Methodology January 2005: Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof. S.C. Garg inaugurates a two-day National Workshop on “Research Methodology for Distance Online Learning” at IGNOU Headquarters. lIGNOU launches two new programmes -- PG Diploma in Intellectual Property Rights and PG Diploma in Environment and Sustainable Development. lThe Gyan Vani FM Radio network is widened with experimental Gyan Vani broadcasts from Jabalpur, Rajkot and Guwahati.

February 2005: IGNOU signs MoU with Mauritius Institute of Education for launching a joint Teacher Training Programme through distance mode at the international level. March 2005: President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam delivers the Convocation Address at the 16th Convocation, held at the IGNOU Headquarters.

Upcoming Events 1. Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro Ltd., to receive the 1st Rajiv Gandhi International Prize for Education and Technology Development — August 20, at Convention Centre, IGNOU, New Delhi.

JULY-AUGUST 2011

Popular Cartoonist: Charles M. Schulz

School Education in Rural India

Dance Therapy: Changing Lives

Educational Ethos of Swami Vivekananda

Rene Descartes: An Introduction

Charles Monroe Schulz was an American cartoonist, whose comic strip Peanuts proved one of the most popular and influential in the history of the medium, and is still widely reprinted on a daily basis.

A plethora of government initiatives to provide access to primary education may be underway, but issues of equity, quality and access remain areas of concern — particularly in rural schools of the country.

Dance therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of dance for emotional, cognitive, social, behavioral and physical conditions. As a form of expressive therapy, DMT is founded on the basis that movement and emotion are directly related.

Swami Vivekananda defines education as ‘the manifestation of the perfection already in man.’ The aim of education is to manifest in our lives the perfection, which is the very nature of our inner self.

René Descartes was a French philosopher who spent most of his life in the Dutch Republic. Known as the ‘Father of Modern Philosophy’, his ‘Meditations on First Philosophy’ continues to be a standard text at most universities.

Diamond - A Gem of a Mineral

The Art of Bread Making

Diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Most natural diamonds are formed at high-temperature conditions in the Earth mantle.

Bread is a staple food prepared by cooking a dough of flour and water and additional ingredients. Doughs are usually baked, but in some cuisines breads are steamed or fried. Salt, fat, yeast and baking soda are common ingredients.

For a complete schedule, log on to www.ignou.ac.in

16 IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JULY 15, 2011

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