IGNOU-A Paradigm of Excellence and Expertise

IGNOU- named after the prestigious former Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Indira Gandhi National Open University has earned a universal reputation for its quality education, par excellent result and dedicated and strict management and education. IGNOU is a public research government university headed by the President of India as its Chancellor, and with over 7 million admissions world-wide each year it is also the largest university in the world. Though teaching and research are its area of service and focus, extension of knowledge and training also form the basis of its academic activities. It also acts as a national intellectual resource centre and knowledge hub; and serves to promote and maintain standards of distance education in India.

It was established in the year 1985 in accordance with the then newly passed Indira Gandhi National Open University Act. The government of India passed this landmark resolution to regulate and set a standard for distance and open education in India, and to strengthen the future Indian manpower through education.

The first Open and Distance Learning Programme was introduced in India by Delhi University in 1962 to enable students who could not attend regular colleges but still aspired to acquire further knowledge and possessed the aptitude forindependent studies, in orderto help improve their professional competence. The 1960’s to 1980’s saw the emergence of correspondence courses by other universities like The Punjabi University, University of Rajasthan, the University of Meerut and Mysore University, and the esteemed Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University of Hyderabad. However, as this stream of education was a novel idea each university tended to have their own set of rules, regulations and standards causing confusion and instability for the students and parents alike. Also the degrees awarded had varying values when seeking a job, therefore a regulating body and guidelines was required to stabilise the situation and bring about a standard and fairness in the field of Distance Education.

This led to the birth of the aforementioned IGNOU Act of 1985, and the subsequent establishment of the university itself. This proved to be a landmark in the history of Indian education, as the quality of education provided and the criteria set by this university became highly appreciated and welcomed in India and abroad.

The power of IGNOU

IGNOU is accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with the highest grade of A++, which confers the degree awarded by IGNOU to be equivalent to those of regular full-time Universities.

In turn, IGNOU operates as an accreditor for open university and distance education systems in India through the Distance Education Council (DEC) with the authority to do so granted by the clauses of IGNOU Act 1985.

It has won recognition and credibility by The University Grants Commission of India and several other central reputed bodies like the Association of IndianUniversities (AIU) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

International bodies like UNESCO (United Nations Educational and Socio-Cultural Organisation) and Common Wealth Nations also hold this University in high esteem and support it with their merit and programmes. Infact, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has designated IGNOU as its first Centre of Excellence for Distance Education. IGNOU hosts the Secretariats of reputed and dedicated organisations like the SAARC Consortium on Open and Distance Learning (SACODiL) and of the Global Mega Universities Network (GMUNET) which is initially supported by UNESCO.

All these recognition and ties make it a very highly acclaimed institution and more than just an educational centre. It also ensures its own standard of education and uncompromised performance to maintain its position in these national and international bodies.

What makes IGNOU the best?

As stated earlier, IGNOU is more than an educational and research institute. It is a very important body and a strong multi-layered organisation dedicated towards quality education and human resources development. The staff and members of IGNOU are highly qualified and experienced.

It also partners up with other organizations to launch courses, for example, IGNOU offers a BBA in Retail distance learning course in association with Retailers Association of India (RAI).

IGNOU also maintains a strict admission criterion which ensures its students to be equally dedicated and hard working. There are several entrance exams for different courses that ensure the aptitude of the student and eligibility to complete the course.

The syllabus and curriculum of its each and every course is also very extensive which calls for in-detail research and studies. It is also very practical-based and needs long hours of planning, studying and involvement to pass its exams. This helps maintain its standard and also ensures development of manpower which has always been its objective.

The study materials are set, designed and revised by industry leaders and experts of said field, say by Professors from IIT, IIM and other eminent persons, which makes it very exceptional, precise and highly knowledgeable. The study materials of IGNOU have earned a credibility of their own owing to their practicality, precision and easy to follow language.

The assignments are said to be very extensive and required to be hand-written even to this day. This is done to ensure student’s involvement in the courses and eliminate any mischief.

The grading and marking system of the papers too is also renowned to be strict and set to a standard. Though this makes passing the exams challenging and doesn’t leave room for any leniency, it actually ensures the students expertise by the end of the course, and the employers can be satisfied about the candidate being fully well-versed in the field they seek employment in.

IGNOU has several schools and study centres across India and abroad where it conducts special classes and practical’s for its students as required. The teaching staffs also carry great credibility and are experts in their area. This makes the classes to be really interesting, informative and valuable for the students.

IGNOU is in the process of decentralising its study centres’, which means the study centres’ will now be divided by five zones- North, South, East, West and Central and managed separately by the respective zonal heads. This will ensure better student-management rapport, better response by administration, faster dispersal of affairs and better grievance handling.

IGNOU also has its own virtual campus. In fact, it was one of the first Open Universities in India to start online courses and classes. It ensures better and more concentrated student-teacher involvement in the courses and more effective results.

The fees structure too is very cost-effective and student-friendly. It has earned a name for providing exceptional education at very affordable price in India and overseas.

IGNOU also conducts several job placement drives. Companies like, Infosys, IBM, Mahindra & Mahindra, GenPact, etc regularly visit its campus for employment of freshers. IGNOU regularly updates its websites of the same. Additionally, it also informs its registered students about the same through SMS and emails.

The True Measure of Success

For any institution the true measure of success would be its productivity in enhancing the student’s knowledge, its effective performance in catering to the courses, and the student’s own contentment and experience during the course of their study. Indira Gandhi National Open University has been able to meet each of these criteria with exception and finesse ever since its inception and even exceeding its expectations from public. It has risen in its reputation all across the globe, maintained its standard and its students have graduated with becoming well versed in their chosen field and accepted on par with regular colleges.

Many of its alumni still appreciate the quality and standard of education imparted by IGNOU to be very enlightening and competitive.

Yes, there are some who have been disappointed, but it has been more of being unable to meet their own expectations and dreams post completion of the course than their time associated with the university itself. Also some complain it to be highly strict and unnecessarily demanding in its student- performance, but when an institution is as reputed and tied to such reputed bodies as is IGNOU, and is bound by such policies and objective, it has to maintain the level of discipline, quality and expectations.

To sum it up, IGNOU is a wonderful option when seeking higher education in a flexible, cost-effective and convenient manner for working individuals as the quality of education it imparts is par excellence and the degree awarded will enhance their growth in career and help them reach higher positions with diligence and hard-work. For students fresh out of college intending to further their knowledge and non-working individuals, courses offered by IGNOU will prove to be as credible as any of those received from full-time regular institutions. When coupled with individual talent, perseverance and experience it will prove helpful in reaching their perceived goals. So, IGNOU is a great aid to anyone willing to work hard and better their career prospective yet unable to pursue regular college owing to whatever circumstances.

by Asma Ferdoes