An Overview of the Indira Gandhi National Open University
Distance education has become fairly popular in the recent times. After all, the education sector has been witnessing quite a lot of innovation at all levels, leading to many new developments and things which weren’t even imaginable a few decades back.
Distance education is one such thing. It refers to an education system that doesn’t require the students to be physically present. Its history can be traced back to 1728 when a teacher started sending out weekly lessons through the mail.
According to Kartikeya Sharma, Managing Director of iTV Network, distance education seems to be getting more and more important as a modern way of education throughout the world. As it offers the freedom to study without even being physically present, it does solve some of the major issues of the traditional education system.
Even some of the major universities of the world didn’t take long to realize the importance of distance education, with the University of London becoming the first in 1828 to start offering distance education courses.
An overview of the Indira Gandhi National Open University
Founded in 1985 and also known as IGNOU, the Indira Gandhi National Open University is the largest distance education university in the world with well over 4 million students. It is named after one of the most popular prime ministers of India, Indira Gandhi.
It’s located in New Delhi and was provided with a huge budget of 20 billion rupees when the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985, or the IGNOU Act 1985, a one of its kind, was approved by the parliament on its establishment. It’s under the control of the central government of India.
The goals of IGNOU
IGNOU has been focusing on a few goals it had set at the time of its establishment. They include providing education, through the innovative distance or open education platform, to some of the backward sections of the society. It aims to encourage and motivate them to gain an education in a way they would be comfortable with. Apart from these goals, it also aims to set standards for the distance education universities in India as well as help improve the level of human resources in the country.
As far as the academic activities are concerned, it offers many diverse courses. Besides teaching and research, it also includes training and extension as some of its primary academic activities.
Furthermore, it seems to be doing much more than just offering the usual distance education courses. It also serves the nation as a national resource center.
Well, as mentioned earlier, the IGNOU has been ranking at the very top spot for quite a few years now. Its dedication towards its goals has helped it attract students from all over the world.
Students of the other countries it has served so far include the UAE, UK, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Kuwait, Qatar, Vietnam, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Afghanistan, Switzerland, Nigeria, Nepal, Zambia, Mongolia, and much more.
It has a network of 21 schools and 67 regional centers, as well as around 2,700 study centers in India. Apart from these, it also boasts of having as many as around 30 overseas centers in different parts of the world.
Also, as far as the current statistics are concerned, it’s home to as many as around 30 percents of all the students enrolling in similar universities in the country. This is saying something, as there seem to be around 250 universities in India.
Well, it’s the rankings which reveal where a particular university is actually heading in terms of the quality of education it provides. In other words, the ranking of a particular university is a very important factor of the quality of its staff, courses, as well as the level of education it provides overall.
So when it comes to rankings, let us tell you that the IGNOU has been completely in the country for quite a few years now. It retains the top spot year after year, with little to no competition for the number one ranking. However, it was the number one university in India not only among the distance education universities, but among all the ones out there, including private universities, state universities, and so on.
However, it’s also probably worth pointing out that these rankings aren’t based on the popularity of a university or anything such. In fact, such rankings take several important factors into account.
These rankings primarily cover three major aspects of a university, including Learning and Experience, Reach and Resources, and Results and Efficiency. The universities dominating the top ten included five open universities, three private ones, as well as a couple of state ones. Hence, we can easily conclude that it’s arguably the best university in Indian currently.
However, the student passing percentage did come down recently, with the university agreeing that they haven’t achieved their best at a few aspects, including the passing percentage, customer service, and so on. Surprisingly, even the low passing percentage wasn’t able to scare students away from enrolling into the top university of India.
The number of students enrolling into the IGNOU seems to be ever increasing.
How challenging is it to enroll into a course?
It doesn’t seem challenging at all to get into many of the courses offered by the IGNOU. For many other advanced courses, however, the eligibility criteria can be significantly challenging and may require the students enrolling into them to be highly qualified.
However, many of the other courses just require a bachelor’s degree from one of the recognized university. Furthermore, there also seem to be many courses that allow students to enroll in them just at the “10+2” level, or its equivalent from IGNOU.
As of now, IGNOU seems to be offering around 130 courses.
A final word
The Indira Gandhi National Open University, also known as the people’s university, definitely seems to be the best one in India. It has made a mark as a leading university in the distance education field and is also considered as one of the largest distance education universities in the world.
We would also like to mention that we were able to share all this information, thanks to Anand Mishra StarInfranet, who is seemingly helping look after this blog and share useful information related to distance education.