Since its establishment in 1985, IGNOU has contributed significantly to the development of higher education in the country through the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode.
The ‘People’s University’ follows a learner-centric approach and has successfully adopted a policy of openness and flexibility in entry qualifications, time taken for completion of a programme, and place of study.
The University has also extended its outreach beyond the borders of the country. IGNOU (www.ignou.ac.in) has entered into bilateral and multilateral alliances with several countries, especially in Asia and Africa: Australia, United Kingdom, France, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and Liberia.
IGNOU (www.ignou.ac.in) intends to establish collaboration and partnership with government agencies and other open universities through international organisations like UNESCO, the Common wealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Wide Fund (WWF).
1. To advance frontiers of knowledge and promote its dissemination through sustainable Open and Distance Learning systems, seamlessly accessible to all, including those hitherto unreached, from among whom the leaders and innovators of tomorrow will emerge, the University shall:
2. Strengthen the development of the National Resource Centre as a proactive role model for high-quality and learner-centric Open and Distance Learning system;
3. Share professional capabilities and resources to improve standards of distance education in the country;
4. Periodically assess and accredit institutions of Open and Distance Learning to promote centres of excellence in the country;
5. Develop networks, using emerging technologies and methods, with global reach for effective programme delivery;
6. Provide an intelligent and flexible system of education to meet the challenges of access and equity, and work towards development of a knowledge society;
7. Forge convergence of all systems and work for seamless education across national boundaries to develop global collaboration and partnership;
8. Take education to the hitherto unreached and promote community participation for local development through life-coping skills;
9. Provide specific need-based education and training opportunities for continuous professional development and skill upgradation to in-service professionals; and
10. Strive towards continuous development of methods and strategies for research and development for generation of knowledge in frontier areas, including Open and Distance Learning.
Widening Areas of Study
IGNOU, ignou.ac.in at present, offers programmes in about 30 established disciplines and a few inter-disciplinary areas. There is a growing realisation that newer and diverse programmes must be added, without compromising the needs of traditional disciplines. Since IGNOU has established its presence in the international arena, its programmes must incorporate international perspectives, and respond to contemporary issues. The University needs to develop and offer programmes in areas like Telecommunications, Conflict Resolution and Peace, Bio-informatics, Population Studies and e-Commerce.
IGNOU’s method of instruction differs radically from that of other conventional universities. Indira Gandhi National Open University has adopted a multimedia approach to instruction. The different components being: self-instructional materials, counselling sessions, both face-to-face and via teleconferencing mode. For courses in Science, Computers, Nursing as well as Engineering and Technology, arrangements have been made to enable students undertake practical classes at select study centres.
In the tradition of Open Learning, IGNOU provides considerable flexibility in entry qualification, place, pace and duration of study to students. A Bachelor’s Degree Programme (i.e. BA/BCom/BSc) of three years duration can be completed in six years if the student so desires.
IGNOU follows a credit system that is based on the time factor involved in studying. One credit is equivalent to 30 study hours inclusive of all learning activities. Different programmes have different credit requirements. Students have the right to collect credits at their own pace, convenience and according to their own capability. IGNOU also provides a credit transfer facility whereby credits may be transferred from any other University to IGNOU (ignou.ac.in) after fulfilling the necessary requirements.