Page 1

CONTENTS Global Footprints With 67 4 INFOCUS: Partner Institutions in over 40 countries, IGNOU is successfully taking Indian higher education beyond the borders of the country

China Calling IGNOU makes 8 SPOTLIGHT: strides into China to tap the country’s vast educational market by signing MoUs with three world-class universities

NEW TIE-UP. ......................................03 FIRST PERSON. ..........................10 NEWS UPDATES..........................11 23RD CONVOCATION...................12 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: +91-11-29571000 (30 lines); +91-11-29535924-29 Fax: +91-11-29535933; E-mail:

Managing Editor: Ravi Mohan Editorial Advisor: Deepak Dwivedi Photos: Rajesh Sharma/ Amlan Paliwal

Advisory Council: Prof P.R. Ramanujam, Dr Latha Pillai



he ethos of IGNOU is not just about spreading knowledge and skills alone, but very much focussed on understanding and developing successful networks of collaborative teaching, learning, skill building, training, research and institution building. Of late, we focus on how systems and people from different strata of life work together to achieve success in enhancing the quality of life and life management systems. We emphasise on interdependency and remain connected with all our supporters and friends in business, industry, social and culture sectors, and of course with the Union and State Government Departments. Our focus recently has been on managing successful tie-ups to achieve the objectives of inclusive education and thereby inclusive growth. True to the founding principles of the University, we have been quite open and flexible in all our approaches to provide quality education and employable skills to large number of learners, countryside, worldwide. The recent announcement of our Prime Minister in Addis Ababa regarding the establishment of the India Africa Virtual University is based on the success of the Pan-African e-Network, which IGNOU spearheaded four years ago with the support of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Tele Communications India Limited (TCIL). We feel proud to see the growth of this tele-education network in the African continent and its transformation to a full-fledged Virtual University which would be a joint venture of India and the African Union. With IGNOU shortly entering into the global Open Education Resources (OER) following the UNESCO guidelines, this initiative is going to propel us very high in the area of internationalisation of Indian higher Education. The latest decision of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, to establish the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) at IGNOU is the result of innovative international collaboration in development-oriented research in the area of disability sector and in inclusive education. In 2007, the Staff Training and Research Institute (STRIDE) of IGNOU succeeded in getting a joint research project with the Sign Language Institute of the University of Central Lancashire, UK, under the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) for the development of Distance Education Strategies for sign language education and training. The rapid success achieved in this project led to the introduction of a joint degree programme in Sign Language. This most innovative step of the University was noticed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, which was considering the establishment of a National Institute of Sign Language Research and Training. Rightly so, the project was sanctioned to IGNOU, and the Centre is going to be functional from this academic year involving Indian and international expertise in sign language. In 2008, the New Delhi Centre of the All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) approached me to find out whether the various community skill development training activities, which they have been doing very effectively could be examined and certified. In this context only IGNOU started the Community College Initiative consisting of modular level education, hands-on training and work-integrated learning leading to the award of Certificates, Diplomas, Advance Diplomas and Associate Degrees. From there it expanded and the community college scheme of IGNOU has picked up very well with the participation of diverse grassroots level organisations, both in the private and public domain in the country. Government departments like the information technology, rural development, textiles, technical education, Indian Army, Navy and Air force collaborate in a big way with us in this nation-wide skill development initiative, leading to certification of employable skills and the enhancement of livelihood opportunities of the underprivileged sections of the society. We could get this scheme incorporated in the 11th Five Year Plan and we followed the National Knowledge Commission recommendations for starting the Associate Degree Programme for the first time in the country. With the introduction of the proposed National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVQF) by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the community college initiative would contribute significantly to the enhancement of the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) since it provides a lateral entry to the University Degrees. The IGNOU Community College Initiative is now finalising a partnership with the well-established US Community College system through the latest Obama-Singh initiative 2011. The dissemination of higher education knowledge must shift from ‘know what and where to look for’ to inquiry and exploration of the how and why of connectedness and the positive outcomes thereof. For the better ends and objectives of local, regional and world communities, global higher education must now focus more on teaching how to understand, develop and utilise relationship networks in the 21st century. This is necessary for tertiary institutions to nurture the type of society necessary for operating in a knowledgebased economy. As students and people in general learn and understand more about the importance of relationships and networks, they will come to know that things may not always happen in ways intended or expected. Due to this fact, it is crucial to understand the importance of empathy, to beyond the university community. This is the underlying philosophy of many of our recent initiatives. IGNOU, in recent years, has seen real progress towards this joined-up or ‘systemic’ view of tertiary education. This view was made possible through effective partnering with public and private institutions and establishments within and outside the education sector. We could develop our intellectual and professional communities of learners, teachers, academics and planners into practical networks of learning for the mutual benefit of the economy, the individual and the society at large.

Design and Production: IANS Publishing (


V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai


Haryana-IGNOU Community College at Manesar IGNOU, Haryana government and local industries join hands to provide tailor-made programmes for skill development in a unique collaboration — first of its kind in the country


he Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has collaborated with the Har yana Government to launch the Har yana-IGNOU Community College in Manesar. Har yana Chief Minister Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda inaugurated the Har yanaIGNOU Community College, Institute for Competency Advancement of Teachers (iCAT) and a new teaching block at Government Polytechnic, Manesar on June 17. “Haryana has seen immense growth in the number of polytechnics. The efficiency of both teachers and students are imperative for the state’s growth. We must ensure this type of mutual benefits arising from education so that the students get employment,” Hooda said. He also stressed on starting paramedical vocational programmes in the community college. “We started the Community College Scheme under a public initiative to chalk out a programme for skill development in the countr y. It is an autonomous society created by the University to provide vocational education, skill upgradation and training, which will help the country answer the problem of skill deficit,” said Vice

Haryana Chief Minister Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda interacting with VC Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai at the inauguration of the Haryana-IGNOU Community College in Manesar on June 17.

Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai. Under this collaboration, five programmes have been launched initially — Diploma in BPO, Finance & Accounting, Fire Safety, Security Management, Front Office Management and Housekeeping. These are tailor-made courses that are already certified by IGNOU. Another 20 new programmes will soon be launched on security, automobile repair,

fabrication, electrical, electronics, information and communication technology, printing, garments, fire safety management, water harvesting management, tourism and hotel management, foreign language (Spanish and French), paralegal, beautician, creative writing and communication skills, construction design, transport management and conductor training, and retailing management, among others.■

VC Prof. Pillai, along with IGNOU officials, outside the Haryana-IGNOU Community College in Manesar.


Global Footprints One of the largest universities in the world Over 3.5 million students on rolls Largest number of foreign students among all Indian universities Presence in over 40 countries Successfully running 67 Partner Institutions

INFOCUS After taking the Indian higher education beyond the borders of the country, IGNOU is now ready to power the India-Africa Virtual University that will cement educational ties between India and Africa


his piece of information goes on to show that the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is not just changing the lives of learners in India, but is also successfully taking the Indian open learning experience beyond the borders of the country. With its mission of a knowledge society, the University has joined hands with other developing nations to achieve sustainable development across the world. One of the most


prestigious partnerships that IGNOU has fostered is with the African Union through the Pan-African e-Network Project — a showpiece project of the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India, that seeks to bridge the digital divide across 53 countries of the African Union and bring tele-education to the African people. After the success of the Pan-African eNetwork Project, IGNOU is now ready to take a giant leap and work towards Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s ambitious mandate — implementation of the IndiaAfrica Virtual University (IAVU) project. “Following the success of the PanAfrican e-Network Project, we propose to take the next step and establish an IndiaAfrica Virtual University,” Dr Singh said at the India-Africa Forum Summit in Addis Ababa on May 24.

(Left) Induction programme for learners of the January 2011 batch underway at the St. Mary’s University College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. B.Com students of the Institute of Modern Technologies, an IGNOU Partner Institution in Sharjah, at their annual outing in Fun City, Dubai.

IGNOU was mandated with formulating a proposal in consultation with the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The University has proposed within a period of one year, a plan of action at a continental level and an appropriate follow-up mechanism to implement the virtual university. “The mission of IAVU is to create conditions that ensure special priority to furthering Indo-African relations by establishing an edu-

cational link,” says Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai. “IGNOU is in tune with the changing dynamics and the needs of the variety of learners. The University upholds the agenda of internationalisation, seeking to create a learner-centric global environment through its programmes,” he adds. IGNOU first made its international presence felt in 1994 by making available its Post-Graduate Diploma and Master’s De-

gree programmes in Distance Education to students in 19 Commonwealth countries across Asian, African, Pacific and Caribbean countries under the Commonwealth of Learning (COL)-Rajiv Gandhi Fellowship scheme. To operationalise the global role of IGNOU, the IGNOU Act was amended in 1997 to pave way for an International Cell. The Cell was upgraded to a Division in 2002

Growth of Overseas Learners

Growth of International Division

Admission Statistics


No. of International Partner Institutes

Growth of Partner Institutes




A learner in Ethiopia interacting with IGNOU students in India. (Left) Shri Pranab Mukherjee, then External Affairs Minister, at the inauguration of the Pan-African e-Network Project in New Delhi in February 2009.



he Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) announced the details of a virtual university for Africa on May 25, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised such an institution at a summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The proposal to establish the Indo-Africa Virtual University (IAVU) was initiated by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and IGNOU was entrusted with the formulation of the proposal. Following the suggestions from the MEA and MHRD, and extending the successfully executed Pan-African E-learning Network of IGNOU, the final proposal was approved by the MEA. According to Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, IAVU will ensure Africa-oriented educational programmes are developed effectively in focus areas and fields such as health sciences, vocational education, food and nutritional security, and gender empowerment. “The India-Africa Virtual University will also augment the overall participation of African nations in the global educational development process and strengthen interregional cooperation between African member nations and India,” Prof Pillai said, adding that it could take between six months and a year to implement.

with the objectives of promoting the academic programmes of IGNOU outside India; establishing bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation and exchanges; licensing the course material of IGNOU to foreign institutions; coordinating the training programmes for the personnel of Open Universities/institutes outside India; providing consultancies in ODL to newly established/needy universities/institutions outside India; coordinating international programmes with the regional

IGNOU authorities said Africa had burgeoning numbers of youth, some seven-10 million of whom knock on the doors of the labour market every year, which is a huge opportunity. Yet, of today’s unemployed in the region, 60 percent are youth. The headquarters of the virtual university is proposed in Ethiopia or Kenya and the initial cost is estimated at Rs.150 crore ($3.5 million), with an annual cost of Rs.100 crore. The Pan African e-Network Project was conceived by former President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and approved by the Union Cabinet on 5th July, 2007, at a budgeted cost of Rs. 542.90 crore. The basic objective of the Pan-African e-Network project is to assist Africa in capacity building by way of imparting quality education to 10,000 students in Africa over a five-year period. Under this project, IGNOU is offering MBA, Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education (DECE) and Diploma in HIV and Family Education (DAFE) programmes to students from the African continent. The process of teaching is by tele-education, with a two-way communication link between the students in the African countries and the state-of-the-art studio located at the Electronic Media Production Centre, IGNOU.

and international agencies; and providing pedagogical and technological support to Partner Institutes. “The International Division has marched to attain the mandated tasks to promote IGNOU outside India, establishing bilateral and multilateral cooperation and providing capacity-building through training and technological support. The system has attracted learners by its unique features such as relaxed entry schedule, flexibility


of time and space, its cost effective quality education, need-based professional courses and contextualised course curriculum,” says Dr Kusum Sharma, Director, International Division. The success of this mandated task can be corroborated with the fact that the cumulative gross enrollment of overseas students till now is more than 35,848 — the largest among all Indian universities. On the collaborative and network front, the Division has adopted a four-fold strategy — offering its academic programmes in collaboration with established higher educational institutions of repute that are known for professional delivery mechanisms; sharing IGNOU’s academic resources through licensing of course material for adoption and adaptation in the local educational environment; capacity-building of ODL institutions through training, orientation and workshops; and ODL institutional building by sharing the experiences earned by IGNOU, Dr Sharma adds. In the Gulf countries, the University has a presence in UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain. In Saudi Arabia, IGNOU operates through the Educational Consulting and Guidance Services (ECGS), which runs centres in Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam. “IGNOU-Saudi Arabia became the official representative of the University in 2004 with 67 students. Today, we have over 2,500 students. Since its inception, over 600 students have graduated from the centre. IGNOU-Saudi Arabia students have won nine gold medals so far, five of which were won by M.A. English students,” says Riaz Mulla, general manager, ECGS. According to ECGS Director Dr Shahnaz Patel, “IGNOU has made available opportunities for higher education in Saudi Arabia. Overall, the students feel that IGNOU has remained true to its pledge of reaching out to those in need of education through the ODL mode of education.” Amina Nooriya, a learner at the Riyadh centre, remarks, “IGNOU’s education is

ageless. Anybody can fulfill his/her dream of completing higher education at this university. IGNOU has provided immense support to education, particularly girl education, in Saudi Arabia.” In Maldives, the partnership is governed by a tripartite agreement, which includes Government of Republic of Maldives, IGNOU and Ministr y of External Affairs, Govt. of India. A similar tripartite agreement involving Govt. of Seychelles, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and IGNOU takes care of the higher educational requirements of students at Seychelles. In Mauritius, IGNOU has an agreement with Mauritius College of Air, an autonomous body under Govt. of Mauritius. In Vietnam and Myanmar, the tie-up is with Distance Learning institutions - Hanoi Open University in Vietnam and University of Distance Education, Myanmar. In Sri Lanka, the partnership is with Ministry of Higher Education through Distance Education Modernisation Project. Under an MoU with UNESCO, International Institute of Capacity-Building in Africa (IICBA) and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), IGNOU is offering PGDDE and MADE programmes in Ethiopia, Gambia, Liberia, Ghana, Swaziland, Malawi, Nigeria, Jamaica, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Samoa, and Lesotho. In Europe, IGNOU’s academic programmes are being offered in London. A programme with the University of Vienna for German Language teaching has been launched, which is a tri-country collabora-

tion with Germany, Austria and national learners and Partner India. Institutions. The web portal Some of the prominent collabprovides support for better orations include: TASMAC London programme coordination as School of Business, London; Emiwell as guidelines for those inrates Professional Training Institerested in working with tute, Sharjah, UAE; University of IGNOU and is supported by a Papua New Guinea, New Wiki area that allows PIs Guinea; Hautes Etudes Com“We aim to involve to publish information and merciales, Abidjan, Ivor y interact with their stumore governments dents. Coast; University of South Paand government cific, Fiji; National Board of “We have ensured that Higher Education, Eritrea; IGNOU keeps pace with the organisations in Royal Roads University, Victodifferent countries changing times. Access to ria, British Columbia, Canada; content is now easy even and extend the Emirates NCC University, Rasfor international students. IGNOU canvas to Al-Khaimah. The web portal enables stumore continents of dents/lecturers to go The University also plays an active role in SAARC consorthrough the online study the world.” tium for Open and Distance material in form of online — Dr. Kusum Sharma, Director, ID Learning (SACODiL) and Global blocks for each programme Mega Universities Network and individual course,” says (GMUNET). Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof K.R. Srivathsan. “The USP of IGNOU is its course mateThe next step for IGNOU, according to rial, much sought after by open universities Dr Sharma, is to extend its canvas to the outside India. IGNOU’s course material has untapped areas. “International Division been licensed for a specific period to open has initiated the process of contextualiuniversities in Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritius, sation of material for various countries. It Guyana, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka with the attempts to augment the quality of the provision that the University can adopt the material by making it more relevant to courses in its entirety or modify the courses the Par tner Institutes in various counto suit their needs,” says Dr Sharma. tries. We aim to involve more governThe Division, in association with the Adments/government organisations in vanced Centre for Informatics & Innovative different countries and extend the IGNOU Learning (ACIIL), has also launched a canvas to more continents of the world,” state-of-the-art interactive portal for interDr Sharma adds.■

Partner Institutions Across the World

IGNOU will soon launch two new Partner Institutions — Al Hikma Education, Sharjah, and Wisdom Business School FZE, Ras-Al-Khaimah, UAE. Collaboration talks are in progress with Uganda, Congo and Tanzania.



Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof. P.R. Ramanujam, Mr. Yang Dong Qiang and Ms. Xia Jie of the Qingdao Technological University, and Prof. G. Chaudhuri at the MoU signing in China on May 13.

CHINA CALLING IGNOU makes strides into China to tap the country’s vast educational market by signing MoUs with three world-class universities

A Prof. P.R. Ramanujam and Prof. Danny Wong of the Open University of Hong Kong signing the MoU on May 19.

fter making strides in the African continent through the Pan Africa e-Network project and the upcoming India-Africa Virtual University, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is now spreading its wings to China. China has made remarkable improvements in its higher education, owing to the tremendous economic development in the countr y. In order to tap this vast educational market, as well as stir mutual economic gains, both through exchange of education and students, IGNOU has signed MoUs with three Universities — Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK), Hunan Normal University (HNU) and Qingdao Technological University Qindao College (QDC).


“The three institutions have identified various areas of common interest to foster academic exchanges and cooperation in teaching and research,” said Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof P.R. Ramanujam, who along with Prof G. Chaudhuri, Director, School of Foreign Languages, and other IGNOU officials, visited eight universities in China. Apart from the above mentioned universities, the IGNOU delegation also paid a visit to Beijing University, Shanghai TV Open University, Fudan University and the City University of Hong Kong. The MoU with the Qingdao Technological University was signed on May 13 by Qingdao University Vice-Chancellor Ms Xia Jie and Prof Ramanujam, in the pres-



Pro-VC Prof. P.R. Ramanujam and Mr. Jiang Hongxin of Hunan Normal University signing the MoU on May 16.

n the present-day world, a crucial benchmark to define a global superpower is the sheer size and prestige of its higher education system. While the United States is still the global higher education “superpower”, the immense educational development in China and India in recent years have brought the two countries not far behind. China’s higher education institutions had nearly 31 million students in 2010, an increase of 35 percent compared to 2005, and almost double compared to 2002, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). With an annual international student growth rate of 7 percent, international student numbers will reach at least 500,000 by 2020, making it the biggest hosting country in Asia and possibly the number two world destination after the US. China now has eight universities in the top 200 plus another one if you include Hong Kong according to the 2011 World University Ranking of the Top 200 Colleges and Universities in the world by the University Web Ranking. Across Asia as a whole, the number of universities in the top 100 has risen to 30.

SOME TOP CHINESE VARSITIES ence of Mr West Yang, Dean, International Relations, QDC and Prof Chaudhuri. According to the MoU, which will be in effect for two years, the areas of cooperation will include any programmes in the field of education and research offered by either institution as felt desirable and feasible on either side and that contribute to the fostering and development of the cooperative relationship between the two parties. “Qingdao University has a world-class infrastructure with nearly 14,000 students on campus. This MoU is a significant development, as a Face-to-Face University has shown interest in collaborating with IGNOU,” said Prof Chaudhuri. In its commitment to foster internationalisation of education, IGNOU inked another MoU with the Hunan Normal University on May 16. The MoU, signed by Prof Ramanujam and HNU Vice President Mr Jiang Hongxin, entails that both the Universities will start a cooperative programme in teaching, scientific research, faculty and student exchange. According to the MoU, both the universities will accept professors from both the institutions as exchange of teachers; both the universities will accept students from each other as exchange students to study

in their universities for one semester or academic year; HNU will accept self-financed students and short-term student groups from IGNOU to study Chinese language, culture, history, fine arts, and other related subjects; both universities will exchange books, learning resources and magazines written by and officially published by teachers of the respective universities. “Both the Universities will develop cooperative scientific research projects that are beneficial to both the parties and have agreed to maintain equity in the number of exchange students,” Prof Ramanujam said. IGNOU and the Open University of Hong Kong committed themselves to develop various forms of cooperation and collaborations by inking an MoU on May 19. The MoU was signed between Prof Ramanujam and Prof Danny Wong, Vice President (Academic), OUHK. As per the MoU, both the universities will develop and share course material and ser vices for lifelong learning within their local and international jurisdictions; both the universities will collaborate on research activities, and the joint development of course curriculum and material in areas of mutual interest; they will also provide assistance to each other, wherever possible and practical, through support

Chinese University

World Ranking

Peking University


Shanghai Jiaotong University


Xi’an Jiaotong University


Tsinghua University


Fudan University


Zhejiang University


Nanjing University


Renmin University of China


The University of Hong Kong


such as, but not limited to expertise in instructional design, multimedia technology, graphic design, training, publishing, and visits or exchanges of personnel on mutually agreeable terms. “This is the first time an Indian University has gone to China and tried to get connected with the country’s higher education system. So far, the connection between China and India has been restricted to a governmental basis. However, IGNOU is the first University in India to come out with such an initiative, at least with regards to the universities we visited,” remarked Prof Chaudhuri.■



China visit: some reflections


y first impressions about China were formed by the stunningly modern Beijing Airport that got a facelift just before the Olympics in 2008. From the airport I went straight to the UNESCO Office where I had a three-hour detailed discussion with Abhimanyu Singh, UNESCO Director, Beijing, to get a broad picture of the present-day Chinese higher education. On my way to the hotel, I could see the impressive development of China’s infrastructure. The meetings that me and my colleague Dr G. Chaudhuri had with the Centre for China Culture Studies gave us an opportunity to see the sprawling Campus of the Beijing University, which rivals Oxford and Cambridge. The rigour of scholarship, the calibre of faculty, the deep involvement of the students in their studies, including studying Sanskrit, and the five-star facilities available to students, made me think about the sorry state of affairs even in the best Universities in India. I also often thought about IGNOU’s road and could not resist comparing it with the imperious gateways of Beijing University. I felt proud that IGNOU, the largest University in the World, has been able to do so much under the given physical, infrastructure and other limitations. The China Open University has excellent infrastructure facilities, although many of us in India think that Open Universities need not have campuses that “normal” Universities have. As we travelled to the beau-

tiful southern city of Qingdao to visit Qingdao University of Technology, my impression about China’s Higher Education was further strengthened. The Vice President and the International Director of the University arranged our meetings in the students’ canteen, which looked like a private dining room of a five-star hotel. We were taken on a guided tour to see the excellent academic buildings, student hostels, gymnasiums, a common swimming pool, students club, etc., which accommodate 14,000 students — Chinese and International. After signing an MoU with Qingdao University of Technology, we flew to the well known Hunan Province to sign another MOU with the Hunan Normal University, which is located on a campus of 12,000 sq km with 30,000 students and over 3,000 faculty members. English Language is gaining importance in Chinese Universities, colleges and schools. Shanghai has 22 Universities, out of which we got a chance to visit two – Shanghai TV University (which has the most sophisticated media facilities and can be a learning centre for our media centres and computer units), and Fudan University which is ranked number two in China. In both the Universities, I could see excellent facilities and academic environment that can easily stand comparison with the top class universities of the Western World. Our last phase of the explorator y tour was in Hong Kong, which has seven Univer-

sities, including the Hong Kong Open University. Fourteen of the Chinese universities figure in the top 100 universities of the World, of which six are from Hong Kong itself. The only University left out in Hong Kong is the Open University, which also may catch up with the others in the next few years. Hong Kong Open University has about 100,000 students, of which 5,000 are from face-to-face stream. We signed an MOU with the Hong Kong Open University as well. The most satisfying experience for me was with the Library of the City University of Hong Kong, which has 9,00,000 volumes, a few thousand periodicals and 11,00,000 digitised books and journals. With all our achievements in the expansion of our educational system at all levels, we should admit that we have to go a long way to catch up with China in terms of quantity and quality. Even in recent reports, no Indian university/institution figures in the top 100 universities of the world, or even among the top 200. Only one institution i.e. Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, gets a mention with a rank of 187! In terms of research, innovations, use of technology, development of infrastructure, academic excellence, we may have some modest achievements of individuals, but hardly any institutions. My humble opinion is that we are yet to create a University in India in its complete sense. I am fully aware of Nalanda, Takshila, Kanchipuram and other Universities of ancient India, but I am eager to see their counterparts in the modern and much more globalised India today! — Pro-VC Prof P.R. Ramanujam

Conference on Sign Language


GNOU organised a two-day national conference on “Innovation in Educational Approaches to Indian Sign Language” on June 10-11. The conference aimed at drawing attention to an array of academic and social issues, and ways to improve access to all those areas where improvement is essential to promote the active inclusion of the hearing-impaired learners in education. IGNOU is running India’s first B.A. Programme in Applied Sign Language Studies (BAASLS) as well as a Bachelor’s Preparation Programme for Deaf Students (BPPDS). “At IGNOU, it is innovation in every sense. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, considering the innovations of IGNOU in this field, approached us to congratulate our efforts,” said Vice Chancellor Prof V.N.


The national conference on Sign Language underway at IGNOU campus.

Rajasekharan Pillai. He further announced the University’s plans to build an ‘Indian Sign Language Institute’ in the campus soon. Pro-VC Prof P.R. Ramanujam said, “The BAASLS programme can go further with sustainable support from IGNOU.”




Pro-VC Prof. K.R. Srivathsan, along with other dignitaries, at the MoU signing ceremony.

Rural Banking to get a boost


he Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU) Centre for Corporate Education, Training and Consultancy (CCETC) and School of Agriculture (SOA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD) to offer a fully residential programme — Post-Graduate Diploma in Rural Banking (PGDRB). The MoU was signed by IGNOU Registrar (Admin) U.S. Tolia and Sanjit Kumar Chatterjee, Director, BIRD, in the presence of Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof K.R. Srivathsan. The one-year programme, to commence from the July 2011 session, aims to develop a competent cadre of professionals in rural banking offered by BIRD, Lucknow, an autonomous society promoted by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). With this MoU, both IGNOU and BIRD aim to bridge the gap between programmes currently available and programmes required by the market for producing professionals by enhancing their capacities for overall rural develop-


MUTUAL AREAS Joint Programme in Rural Banking, leading to PGDRB Executive Certificate Course in Rural Banking Short-term Training programmes for in-service executives of Banks, MFIs/NGOs, government development departments and other development organisations Short-term Orientation programmes for newly recruited officers of the Indian Administrative and Economic Services Collaboration with IGNOU’s School of Agriculture (SOA) as per mutually agreed terms

ment. It also focusses on having joint programmes to address the current and emerging needs of the agriculture and rural sector. Graduates in any discipline with minimum 50 percent aggregate marks and 45 percent marks for reser ved categor y are eligible to apply for the programme. The age limit for the programme is set at 25 years as on 1st July, 2011, and 30 years for those in ser vice.■

GNOU’s Centre for Corporate Education, Training & Consultancy (CCETC) and School of Agriculture (SOA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to develop training modules on food safety and hygiene for housewives in their pursuit to learning and acquiring certain skills in respect of food safety. The MoU was signed between IGNOU Registrar (Admin) U.S. Tolia and FSSAI Director Asim Choudhary. According to the MoU, IGNOU shall develop training modules on food safety for housewives/young girls by constituting a group to develop training module, which will have a book form with questions and self assessment format. A separate CD shall also be developed containing the study material and questions for use by the students, along with an online platform for easy access to reading material.

CIAL students get Diplomas


GNOU’s Cochin Regional Centre held the 23rd Convocation on May 28. As many as 17 students were awarded Diplomas in Advanced Airport Operations Management and Advanced Air Cargo Management -programmes offered jointly by the Centre for Corporate Education, Training & Consultancy (CCETC), IGNOU and the CIAL Academy, an arm of the Cochin International Airport. CCETC’s collaboration with CIAL has resulted in a slew of unique programmes aimed at churning out qualified professionals to ser vice India’s burgeoning aviation sector.

Centre for Corporate Education, Training & Consultancy will launch an MBA Programme in ODL mode in collaboration with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Govt. of India.



Convocation ceremony Soon after its 22nd Convocation, IGNOU celebrates its 23rd graduation ceremony, making the Convocation a bi-annual affair — a path breaking initiative implemented for the first time by any university in India


ndira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) will hold its Convocation twice-a-year from now on. The Academic Council and university authorities have finalised the procedure for the same, announced Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai. Addressing the 23rd Convocation of IGNOU at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on May 26, Prof Pillai declared that IGNOU shall hold its Convocation after each semester exam results — one in April and the other in October. This is a path breaking initiative implemented for the first time in any university in India. Around 9,000 students were awarded Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates at the 23rd Convocation. There were nine Gold medallists — Manoj Jain - DSM, Priya Singh PGDCA, Vasantha Kumar K. PGDDM, Anju - MPS, Musadhique K.P. - MSO, Shazia Aslam - BLS, Charu Goyal - M.COM, Vivek Manchanda- PGDHHM, and Geetika Bindlish - MCA. The 23rd Convocation was for candidates who have completed their respective programmes and appeared for examination in December 2010. The University declared the results within record 45 days through decentralised evaluation. IGNOU holds its Term-End Examination twice-a-year in June and December. Prof U.R. Ananthamurthy, former President of National Book Trust and Sahitya Akademi, and Chair Professor of the Tagore Chair for Indian Literature at IGNOU, delivered the convocation address. He emphasised that a good inspiring teacher is often difficult to find in creative

engagement with social sciences. “While good teaching may be lacking, research goes on often as a cut and paste exercise. Teaching quality is notoriously difficult to measure but research can be quantified. Many teachers acquire fame through the number of papers they may have mechanically produced without making a contribution. What is expected of the student in humanities and social sciences is ideological conformity rather than critical appraisal,” Prof Ananthamurthy said. Unfortunately in some of our universi3 ties, we have social science and humanities departments with one or two creative scholars and a larger number of efficient but mediocre teachers. At best, they teach what is politically correct and generally acceptable, and the learner’s mind is not awakened to unconventional enquir y. The physical science teaching and research may be slightly better than this in almost ever y university, he added. Dr Sanjeev Pandey, Regional Director, Regional Centre Delhi-1, organised the Convocation on behalf of all the Regional Centres of Delhi & NCR.■



now twice a year


1. A learner receiving a degree from Vice Chancellor Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai and Chief Guest Prof. U.R. Ananthamurthy at the 23rd Convocation. 2. VC Prof. Pillai, Prof. Ananthamurthy, Pro-Vice Chancellors, Directors of the Schools/Divisions and Regional Directors of Delhi-NCR region at the ceremony. 3. Prof. Ananthamurthy delivering the Convocation Address.

Best Community College Award for Cochin College

Padma Shri K. Viswanathan, Director, Mitraniketan People’s College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, receiving the Gold Medal for the Best Community College during the 23rd Convocation at IGNOU Regional Centre, Kaloor, Cochin, on May 28.



A second time for




he Regional Centres of the Indira Gandhi National Open University were not far behind in celebrating the 23rd Convocation. Ahmedabad Regional Centre held its 23rd Convocation on May 27. As many as 2,980 learners received Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates at the event, graced by Her Excellency, the Governor of Gujarat, Dr Shrimati Kamalaji. “Since its inception, IGNOU has established itself as a leading university in the country and has attracted more than 3.5 million learners. Today, almost 10 percent students enrolled in higher education sector all over the country are studying in IGNOU,” said Dr Kamalaji in her Convocation Address. “The graduates who are receiving their degrees today should show their concern towards the welfare of the underprivileged and should work 3 for the upliftment of this section,” she added. The 23rd Convocation for learners of Chennai and Madurai Regions was held on May 30 at A.A. Shukhoor Auditorium in Chennai. Micheal Vetha Siromony, IAS, Director and Vice Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Sriperumbudur, was the Chief Guest at the event. Nearly 1,304 students received their degrees, diplomas and cer tificates in person. The convocation ceremony at RC Cochin saw 1,983 students from three regional centres of IGNOU — Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram and Vadakara receiving their degrees. Regional Centre Jammu organised the event on May 27 at J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages (Abhinav Theatre) Auditorium in Jammu. Prof I.A. Hamal, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor, Baba Gulam Shah Badshah University, was the Chief Guest at the occasion and awarded Degrees, Diplomas and Certificates to eligible learners. Shakti Sinha, IAS, Chief Secretary, Andaman and Nicobar Administration, was the Chief Guest at the convocation ceremony at RC Port Blair.■


1. K. Jayakumar, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Kerala, delivering the Convocation Address at RC Cochin. 2. A learner receiving a degree from Chief Guest Michael Vetha Siromony, Director and VC, Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, at RC Chennai. 3. A learner receiving a degree at RC Port Blair. 4. The Governor of Gujarat Dr. Shrimati Kamalaji with learners at RC Ahmedabad. 5. Chief Guest Prof. Naresh Dadhich, VC, Vardhaman Mahaveer Open University, Kota, at RC Jaipur. 6. Chief Guest Prof. I.A. Hamal, VC, Baba Gulam Shah Badshah University, with learners at RC Jammu.

RCs too 6






Russian Language Day New advisor to VC


GNOU’s School of Foreign Languages (SOFL) organised a special seminar to mark the ‘Russian Language Day’ as well as commemorate the 212th birth anniversary of the Great Russian writer Alexander Pushkin. The seminar was followed by the screening of a Russian film, said Prof Shivaji Bhaskar of SOFL. The seminar was attended by eminent guests like Evgeny Kravchenko, Second Secretary, Embassy of The Russian Federation, New Delhi; Prof Sankar Basu, Former Dean, JNU and Ajoy Karnati of JNU.■


hri Deepak Dwivedi, Director, NAFED, has been appointed Advisor to the Vice Chancellor at IGNOU. Dwivedi has more than 20 years of wide ranging experience in some of Deepak Dwivedi. the top media groups. He is also an Expert Editor in the National Museum Institute (Deemed University), Ministry of Culture, GOI.■



Vision Beyond Sight, Rang-eela Rajasthan – Gangaur Gangaur is one of the most important festivals of people of Rajasthan and is observed with great fervour and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri, the consort of Lord Shiva.

First SACODiL meet

In a bid to foster an in-depth discussion mapping the various aspects of imparting quality education to students of B-Schools in India, Dainik Bhaskar Group organised the National Education Summit in New Delhi on June 11. Seen in the photo, Union HRD Minister Shri Kapil Sibal, VC Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai and Shri Ramesh Chandra Agarwal, Chairman, Dainik Bhaskar Group, inaugurating the National Education Summit 2011: ‘Bridging the Quality Gap’ at The Oberoi, New Delhi.


Teleconference on EDUSAT November, 2004: Vice Chancellor Prof H.P. Dikshit addresses a teleconferencing session on ‘EDUSAT - Capabilities, Benefits and Challenges’ at EMPC, IGNOU. December, 2004: Shri Oscar Fernandes, Minister of State for Statistics, attends a nationwide special teleconferencing session on HIV-AIDS. Network of Gyan Vani FM Radio stations widens with the commencement of experimental Gyan Vani broadcasts from Varanasi and Mysore. January, 2005: The first conference of the SAARC Consortium of Open and Distance Learning (SACODiL) is held at EMPC, IGNOU.

Upcoming Events 1. 16th Professor G. Ram Reddy Memorial Lecture by Dr. C.P. Joshi, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways — July 2, at Convention Centre, IGNOU, New Delhi. 2. Inauguration of new Administration Block and Offices of Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice Chancellors — July 2. 3. World Education Summit — July 13-16, at Hotel Ashoka, New Delhi.


The Earth And The Solar System

Castes in India

Festival Food - Poush Sankranti

Vocational: Poultry Farming

Earth's solar system is comprised of the Sun, nine major planets, some 100,000 asteroids larger than 0.6 mi (1 km) in diameter, and perhaps 1 trillion cometary nuclei. Our planet appears to be big and sturdy with an endless ocean of air.

The caste system is a system of social restriction in India in which communities are defined by thousands of hereditary groups called Jatis.Castes were considered to be the central feature of people's identities in ancient Indian history.

It is a harvest festival where people celebrate the year's production of rice by treating themselves and friends with a special sweet-dish made from rice and milk called payash. The festival falls on the same day every year i.e. the 14th of January

Poultry farming is the practice of raising domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, and geese, as a subcategory of animal husbandry, for the purpose of farming meat or eggs for food. More than 50 billion chickens are reared annually as a source of food

Dilli Jo Ek Shaher Tha Part-1

Captain Laxmi Sehgal

Delhi has a long history as the capital of several empires. The earliest architectural relics date back to the Maurya Period (c. 300 BC); since then, the city has seen continuous settlement.

Captain Laxmi Sehgal is one of the lion hearted women India ever had. She picked up the gun for the Indian National Army (INA) founded by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose and led it like a tigress for the struggle for India's freedom.

For For aa complete complete schedule, schedule, log log on on to to


Open Letter June for Web  

Open Letter June for Web