Open Letter December 2010

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Open Letter December 2010

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IGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 20092IGNOU not only bears her name, but is alsoan embodiment of her beliefs. As we enterthe 25th year of spreading the light ofOpen and Distance Education all over theworld, we also celebrate Smt. Gandhis spiritand vision in education.IGNOU today is the largest OpenUniversity in the world. We have striven tostay true to our mission and have set newstandards in democratising higher educationby taking it to the learners doorsteps.The University has provided seamlessaccess to learner-centric quality education, skills upgrade, trainingand capacity-building across the country and abroad by making use of innovative technologies in distance education, open learning andonline teaching-learning methodologies.We have also ensured convergence of the existing systems ofteaching-learning to build the massive human resources required for promoting integrated national development and global understanding. With the availability of EduSat, IGNOU is poised to take giantsteps in extending ICT, Web and satellite-based education across theglobe, and pursue flexible and blended learning. Our effort has been to provide need-based academic programmesby giving a professional and vocational orientation to courses. It hasbeen our endeavour to provide better learner-support services to thedeprived, particularly in inaccessible regions.In the years to come, IGNOU looks forward to working on the Rightto Education, strengthening its study centres and consolidating itsexisting programmes.The IGNOU system can be an effective model for education communities all over the world. For a developing country like India,the Open and Distance Learning system has to play a complementaryskill-development role to the conventional system of education. Although the primary aim of the Open and Distance Learningsystem is to improve the Gross Enrollment Ratio, this cannot happenin isolation. The quality of teaching-learning processes needs to be improved. Technology-enabled distance education has not only helped us to improve the quality of distance education in classrooms but also enhance the reach of education.By recognising and acknowledging the nature of our clientele andtheir needs, we have to adapt to the nature and mode of delivery of education. Active participation in the National Skills Mission, throughthe newly introduced Community Colleges Scheme, would be a key priority in the coming years. As an Open University, IGNOU occupies a significant position globally. Based on the edifice of dedicated and empoweringknowledge-dissemination, we envision the growth and expansion ofthe University into a dynamic, vibrant and inclusive system whichembraces all sections of the society, especially the unreached. We look forward to many productive and enriching years ahead,with a focus on both Access and Success in Learning.Prof V.N. Rajasekharan PillaiFROMthe vice chancellor6CONTENTSSeek the Tech EdgeA Second Life25th YEAR: Leveragingthe power of ODL throughinnovative use of technology is critical to take quality education to the unreached and createlivelihoods, says UnionHRD Minister Kapil Sibal.EVENT OF THE YEAR ....03SILVER START..............04FOCUS ON GER ............08NEWS UPDATE .............12REGIONAL ROUNDUP ...15ON CAMPUS ................1610 IN FOCUS: Gyan Deep, a partnership between IGNOU and the Indian Army, is designed for training and awarding degrees to soldiers and providing them a career option after their retirement.IGNOU OPEN Letter is Printed by Enthuse-Answers Communications Pvt. Ltd., Z-35, IInd Floor, Okhla Industrial Area Phase-II, New Delhi-110020 and Published by Ravi Mohan, Chief Public Relations Officer, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Maidan Garhi. New Delhi 110068.Ph: +91-11-29535924-32; +91-11-29535062-65 Fax: +91-11-29535933; E-mail: openletter@ignou.ac.in Managing Editor: Ravi MohanEditor: Surojit MahalanobisAdvisory Council:Prof P.R. Ramanujam, Prof Ramindar SinghDesign and Production: IANS Publishingwww.ianspublishing.comThe real purpose of education is to enlarge intellectual horizons,emotional responsibilities and aesthetic sensibilities. Smt. Indira GandhiIIGNOU has entered its 25th year. A youngUniversitys own tryst with its destiny. A milestone to cherish and a moment to introspect and chart the future. Indeed the moment to usher in the year-long Silver JubileeCelebrations. Appropriately, it was marked byceremony. The Universitys campus in NewDelhi was bedecked, anticipation adding to thebuzz in the air. The campus was festooned withflowers and banners. Faculty and studentswere dressed for the occasion a mlange ofcolour and youthful exuberance. All this to welcome visitors from near and far learners,teachers and thinkers... The Visitor also came the President of India,Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, to take stock and provide guidance.nIGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 2009 3EVENTof the yearIGNOUs tryst with destinyIGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 2009425thYEARA Silver StartPresident of India Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil called upon theOpen Distance Learning (ODL)system in India to be the torch-bearer of a knowledge revolution in India. Launching the Silver Jubilee celebra-tions of IGNOU on November 19, thebirth anniversary of former Prime Minis-ter Indira Gandhi, the President said that the primary challenge facing India lay inenhancing the skill-sets of its workforceto ensure that they could earn a living. Only 5 percent of the workforce inIndia has some kind of certification. Thisis in contrast to over 85 percent in developed countries. Encouragement of work-integrated learning followed by examination, certification and accredita-tion through distance education was critical, the President said. Noting that opportunities in an increas-ingly flattening world were for the prepared, Smt Patil said, Proper training,provisioning of skill-sets and capacity-building of our population are tools whichwould make our human resources compe-tent and confident to face the new set ofchallenges of a fast-changing world.The President exhorted open universi-ties, like IGNOU, which is also thelargest distance education provider inthe world with over 2.5 million students,to generate a movement in rural areasthat will impel people to acquire knowl-edge and skill. In this context, President Patil under-scored the important role that IGNOUsregional centres could play. IGNOU has15 per cent of all learners enrolled inhigher education in this country and offers a wide range of programmes andcourses through its vast network of Launching IGNOUsSilver Jubilee Celebrations, thePresident of Indiacalled upon the ODL system to be at the forefront of ushering in aknowledge revolution by reaching value-added education to the massesPresident Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil addressing the function marking the launch of IGNOUs Silver Jubilee year.learning centres across the country. Its Regional Centres can play a very impor-tant role in reducing disparities in educa-tion by extending education opportunitiesto villages and remote areas.Urging the education sector to makefull use of IT, the President said that creation of high-quality human resourceswould place India in the elite list of front-ranking nations of the world. Noting that the Gross Enrollment Ratio(GER) in India in higher education wasvery low, as compared to the world aver-age, Smt Patil exhorted those leading the education system in India to make stren-uous efforts to attain the goal of enhanc-ing GER in India to 20 percent by 2020.Technology had to be harnessed in asignificant way to ensure that the chal-lenge of access could be overcome totake higher education to the unreached.The National Mission on Education,launched in February this year, will createInternet connectivity for about 20,000colleges and educational institutions. Thisinitiative will, I am confident, bring in theuse of modern technology in higher educa-tion in a more widespread manner, thePresident predicted.It was important that higher education was made accessible towomen, one of the marginalised sectionsof our society. By spreading educationamong women, not only is an individualeducated, but also the seeds of progressfor the next generation are planted, sheobserved. ODL is an enabling tool providing opportunities for the Indian workforce toupgrade and enhance their skills, leadingto higher productivity and better avenuesfor livelihood. In that context, the President said that she was very happyto dedicate Gyan Deep a partnershipbetween IGNOU and the Indian Army tothe nation. Through this new collabora-tion they (army personnel) will get appro-priate certification. This can be helpful intheir current work and in starting a newprofessional life post their career in theArmy, she observed.Launching IGNOUs FlexiLearn initia-tive, the President commended the innovation and said, It will provide an opportunity for prospective learners tosample a course before enrolling in one,thereby helping them to choose appropri-ate courses and programmes.She announced the institution ofIGNOUs Rajiv Gandhi International Prizefor Education and Technology Develop-ment. The Prize would be given to an individual, or an institution, who has madesignificant contributions to educationaltechnology in the developing world. ThePrize will consist of a citation and a prizemoney of Rs 5 lakh.The President also paid tribute to theLate Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It isher deep commitment to development ofthe country and to the upliftment of thepoor that one recalls as her hallmarks.She viewed education as a liberatingforce, which, while enabling individuals toearn a living, would also make them capa-ble citizens. She, therefore, wanted thateducation should reach all people in thecountry, President Patil said. Recalling the important contributionthat IGNOU has made to ODL in India, thePresident congratulated the men andwomen behind the Universitys rapidgrowth and called upon them to play an ever-growing role in the mission of education.nIGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 2009 5New InitiativeslThe President announced the institution ofthe Rajiv Gandhi International Prize for Tech-nology and Development by IGNOU. The Prizewould be given to an individual, or an institu-tion, who has made significant contributionto education technology in the developingworld. lThe President dedicated Gyan Deep to thenation. Gyan Deep is a partnership betweenIGNOU and the Indian Army which seeks toimpart, and certify, higher education to serv-ing army personnel, enabling them to startan alternate career post their retirement.lThe President also launched IGNOUs FlexiLearn scheme which will provide an opportunity for prospective learners to sample a course before enrolling for one;helping them to choose the most relevantand appropriate course and programme.IGNOU has 15 per centof all learners enrolled inhigher education in thiscountry and offers a wide range of programmes and coursesthrough its vast networkof learning centresacross the countryA section of the audience, comprising students and academicians, listening to President Patils address at the event in New Delhi on November 19.IGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 2009625thYEARPaying tribute to IGNOU forbeing the harbinger of OpenDistance Learning (ODL) inIndia, Union Human ResourcesDevelopment Minister Kapil Sibal saidthat leveraging the power of the ODLsystem through the innovative use oftechnology was critical.Speaking at the function to launchIGNOUs Silver Jubilee Celebrations,the minister commended the Univer-sity for not only laying the foundationof ODL in India, but also for servingthe educational aspirations of overtwo million students, especially fromthe disadvantaged and under-servedpopulation.IGNOUs contributions towards national development and creating aglobal knowledge-based society is significant, he said.The minister emphasised that allavailable technologies would have tobe harnessed to provide innovative solutions to increase and deepen access to distance education. The cellphone can also be usedboth for dissemination as well as receipt of information, which helpslearning with mobility. The use of airwaves, WiFi and new forms of tech-nology... will help and diversify theprocess of distance learning, he said. Sibal said that the optimum use oftechnologies would not only broadenthe frontiers of knowledge, but alsoIn his address at thelaunch of IGNOUsSilver Jubilee Celebrations, Union HRD MinisterKapil Sibal saidleveraging the powerof ODL through innovative use oftechnology was critical to takingquality education to the unreached and creating opportunities forlivelihoodSeek the Tech Edgefactoidfactoid In 2009, IGNOU enrolled over 74,000 learners from amongSCs and STs the largest number of disadvantaged toever get enrolled in a single educational institution in a yearensure that the 220 million childrenwho go to school and the 160 millionwho are out of school (in India) have access to those ever-widening horizons.Though the access to higher edu-cation was important, it was not thesole objective. Expansion, inclusionand excellence are the three neces-sary pillars to impart quality educa-tion, the minister said.Noting that by 2020 the averageage of India would be 29 years, hesaid that ODL was a crucial tool inaddressing the educational needs ofthese vast numbers.We should be able to provideproactive and quality education forour young which may not be possibleif we limit ourselves to formal peda-gogical methodology, he said.The minister added that there was an urgent need to invest intechnologies and develop methodsthat would enable access to complexeducation resources.In the absence of adequateteachers, interactive teaching is essential, he said. If India was to achieve over 90 per cent liter-acy, from the current 64 per cent,then there was a need to investi-gate, innovate and look for newersolutions, the minister observed.Asserting that the ODL systemhad to look beyond mere certifica-tion, to enabling livelihood, Sibalsaid, The linkage between learningand livelihood can be best providedthrough distance education.nIGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 2009 7Access to higher education is an important, butnot the sole, objective. Expansion, inclusion andexcellence are the three necessary pillars to impart quality educationCalling for strengtheningthe Open and DistanceLearning system, Smt D. Purandeswari, Union Minister of State for HumanResources Development(HRD), emphasised theneed for aligning higher ed-ucation to the needs of thesociety. She also laudedIGNOU's role in makinghigher education acceesible to all segments of society.She was speaking on the ocassion of the launch of theUnioversity's Silver Jubilee Year on November 19. Excerpts follow:l IGNOU has emerged as one of the largest universi-ties in the world in terms of student enrolment,field of operations and diversity of its courses andprogrammes. The University uses the latest technologies to impart knowledge and help achieve the objective of providing access to educa-tion for all. l The Open University system should identify theknowledge and skills required for improving thequality of life of the citizen and provide thse byusing innovative and flexible means of delivery. l The courses and programmes of the open universi-ties should cater to the disadvantaged groups, suchas those living in remote and rural areas. This in-clude working people, housewives and other adultswho wish to acquire or upgrade knowledge.l An open university should also provide educationand training in various arts, crafts and skills indigenous to different parts of the country. l Enhancing the number of certified workers in thecountry is the real challenge today. Of the totalworkforce in the country, from construction workersto high-level knowledge workers, only 5 per centpossess any certification. This is in contrast to over80 per cent in developed countries. Through work-integrated learning, which uses the latestknowledge base in relevant fields, the workforceshould be given opportunities for learning, exami-nation and certification through the extension serv-ices of the open university system. This is necessaryfor ensuring vertical mobility and professionalgrowth. l In view of the objectives enshrined in the NationalSkills Mission, IGNOU should strive to not only max-imise the employment potential but to bring thelarge number of school and college drop-outs intothe fold of vocational education and training.l With the historic Right to Education Bill introducedby the UPA Government, training of primary school-teachers in large numbers is going to be a majorchallenge facing the education system. Appropriateand contextualised use of information and commu-nication technology like the New Media, Internetand Satellite is the only way address this challengeof scaling up.l On the occasion of the beginning of the Silver Jubilee Year, I congratulate the entire academic andadministrative staff of IGNOU, especially teachersand students.Align Education toSocietys NeedsUnion HRD Minister Kapil Sibal speaking at the launch of IGNOUsSilver Jubilee year in New Delhion November 19.IGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 20098Blending the conventional highereducation system with the Openand Distance Learning (ODL)pedagogy was critical to en-hancing the Gross Enrollment Ratio(GER) in higher education. A growingGER is, in turn, crucial in achieving in-clusive growth.This was the theme of the IGNOUFoundation Day Lecture delivered by Dr Narendra Jadhav, eminent economistand member of the Planning Commis-sion, at the IGNOU campus on Novem-ber 19. Dr Jadhav was speaking on Sustain-ability, Innovation and Inclusion in the Education Sector.While India had improved its GERsince Independence, it was also a factthat all was not well with the educationsystem. Teacher absenteeism in schoolsand colleges was rampant, quality of thedelivery of education was below par andthe drop-out rate in primary schools continues to worsen despite innovationsand incentives like the mid-day mealscheme, he observed. Convergence is the only way for-ward, if we were to arrest and reversethis trend and take education to themasses, he asserted. Dr Jadhav laid down four ingredientsthat would help increase the GER: ac-cess, quality, affordability and employment. Noting that India ranked only third inthe world behind the US and China in providing access to education, helauded IGNOUs contribution in helpingthe country attain this position, with aFocus on GERFOUNDATIONDAY LECTUREDelivering the Foundation Day Lecture at IGNOU,Planning CommissionMember NarendraJadhav said the fusion of ODL and conventional learning systems was critical for increasing the GER in IndiaDr Narendra Jadhav, Planning Commission Member, deliveringIGNOUs Foundation Day Lecture on November 19. Others on the dais are (from L to R) Pro-VC Prof Parvin Sinclair, VC Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai and Registrar U.S. ToliaIGNOU OPEN LETTER | NOVEMBER 15, 2009 915 per cent share in the overall educa-tion delivery in India. Dr Jadhav said that taking higher education to the maximum number oflearners and tailoring a livelihood ori-ented curriculum should be among the highest priorities of the educationsystem. The skills taught should enablethe learner to boost employability, he added. Only 2 per cent of the rural workforcein the country have undergone someform of formal training. We are strivingto improve this situation to get the fig-ure of the formally trained in the work-force to about 18 per cent throughflexi-education and vocational training,Dr Jadhav affirmed.He said that it was equally importantto ensure that education was inclusive.Hence, Dr Jadhav asserted that effortshave to be made to ensure that qualityeducation was easily accessible to mem-bers of the Scheduled Castes andScheduled Tribes, and Muslims the traditionally-backward communities in education.In 2020, the average Indian will beonly 29 years old, compared with 37 inChina and the US, 45 in Western Europe and 48 in Japan. A populationbulge in the working age groups, like in India, is seen as an advantage a demographic dividend. However,Dr Jhadav cautioned, if we do not upgrade our education system and rapidly improve our delivery and take education to the masses, we will not be able to leverage this dividend.In the context of delivering quality education, he expressed concern thatonly about one-third of Indias 417 universities has been able to reach thebenchmark prescribed by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council(NAAC). He also lamented the fact thatonly 44 per cent of teachers in the country have an M.Phil or a Ph.D. In a relatively poor country like India, where large numbers subsistbelow the poverty line, it was importantthat education should not only be of high quality, accessible and livelihood-oriented, but also affordable.This was important if we have to reachquality education to the last man, Dr Jadhav observed.ndiGviJay sinGh, m.P. former chief minister ofmadhya Pradesh digvijaysingh, m.P., inaugurated theschool of Journalism andnew media studies (soJnms) two-week train the trainer programme on october 26.singh emphasised sensitisa-tion of media personnel to their social responsi-bilities. he said that anything less thanreponsible reporting could disturb the social andcommunal balance in a multi-religious andmulti-cultural society like india. oscar fErnandEs, m.P. saEEd naqvi, Journalistformer union minister for labour and Employ-ment oscar fernandes, m.P., and eminent Journalist saeed naqvi delivered the valedictoryaddresses to the participants of train the trainerprogramme of the school of Journalism and new media studies on november 6. while fernandes stressed the need to keep pacewith technological developments and creation ofopportunities for skill enhancement, naqvi high-lighted the lack of hands-on training facilities formedia practitioners in india and hoped institu-tions like iGnou would fill the void.PASSINGBYGail omvEdt,ProfEssorGail omvedt, Professor,ambedkar chair for social change and devel-opment at the university,was felicitated by theschool of Gender and de-velopment studies (sGds)on november 27, for her pi-oneering work among dalitwomen. the america-bornscholar, sociologist and human rights activist, isan indian citizen.Judith irwin, Educationaist Judith irwin of the ameri-can association of com-munity colleges visited theuniversity campus on no-vember 3. she shared theamerican experience in set-ting up community collegeswith the iGnou faculty.IGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 200910Twenty-three-year old P.M. Babufrom Kozhikode in Kerala, a Naikwith the Engineering Branch of theIndian Army, is a proud soldier.But till some time back, he was also ananxious soldier. Anxious about his futureafter he would retire fromthe Army. Typically, Indian Armysoldiers retire around 40,with a productive span ofnearly 15-20 years aheadof them. But Gyan Deep, a part-nership between IGNOUand the Indian Army,seems to have laid his wor-ries to rest. Gyan Deep isan ambitious programmedesigned for training andawarding degrees to sol-diers during their serviceperiod a step aimed atproviding the jawans with asecond career option aftertheir retirement. Under the scheme,IGNOU will register the In-dian Armys RegimentalTraining Centres, HumanResource DevelopmentCentres and Schools of In-structions as CommunityColleges, where soldierswill be trained and imparted learning intheir chosen vocations. The project was dedicated to the na-tion by President Pratibha Devisingh Patil,at the launch of IGNOUs Silver JubileeCelebrations on November 19. Earlier,IGNOU Vice Chancellor ProfV.N. Rajasekharan Pillaiand Chief of Staff of the In-dian Army General DeepakKapoor inked a Memoran-dum of Understanding(MoU) for Gyan Deep onSeptember 4 this year. Based on the U.S. sys-tem of Community Collegesin defence cantonments,the scheme will benefit amajority of the 1.2 millionsoldiers in the Army. It willenable Army jawans to notonly earn a degree but alsomaster livelihood-drivencourses as well. They willbe awarded BA, BBA, BScand BCom degrees depend-ing on their area of study. For Army personnel likeNaik Babu it has been agodsend. Not being a grad-uate, I used to worry a lotabout my life once outsidethe Army. But now becauseof this new scheme, I canA Second Life INFOCUSGyan Deep, apartnership between IGNOUand the IndianArmy, is designedto provide soldiers a careeroption after their retirement.Mechanised troops of the Indian Army. Photo Right: Lieutenant GeneralMukesh Sabharwal and IGNOU Vice Chancellor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai exchange documents after signing the MoU on Gyan Deep in New Delhi inthe presence of Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor. About 50,000personnel retireevery year. After acquiring our degrees, they willbe empowered tosecure a secondcareer. A vasthuman capitalwill be madeavailable for nation-building.Dr Latha Pillai, Pro-VCThrough this newcollaboration they(army personnel)will get appropriate certification. Thiscan be helpful intheir current workand in starting anew professional lifepost their career in the Army.President Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil, while dedicating the Gyan Deep programme to the nation. IGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 2009 11earn a degree and look forward to a rea-sonably good career in the private sectoralso, says Babu. It will be a boon forthousands of Army personnel who will re-tire at a relatively young age, he says. Soldiers give 20 to 25 of their bestyears to the Army and retire around 40.We need to make use of their training anddiscipline after their retirement. There isdemand for ex-servicemen in enterprises,industries and security services. A formaldegree from IGNOU will not only enhancetheir personality but will open up manymore jobs to them, says General Kapoor. IGNOU Pro-Vice Chancellor and In-charge of Gyan Deep, Prof Latha Pillai, af-firms, We are very excited about thishistoric project. About 50,000 disciplined,hardworking, trained services personnelretire every year. After acquiring degreesthrough Community Colleges, they will beempowered to secure a second career ina chosen vocation. And a vast human cap-ital will be made available for inductioninto nation-building.Calling the scheme a major revolu-tion, Vice Chancellor Pillai says, Their(soldiers) entry into the Community Col-lege system will not only increase theGross Enrollment Ratio (GER) of the coun-try in higher education, but will also en-hance the Gross Graduation Ratio (GGR). It is a win-win situation for all partiesinvolved. For IGNOU, it means a phenome-nal increase in the strength of studentsand the campuses. For the Army, it wouldbe a great welfare measure and gainfuluse of resources. And for all soldiers, thisprogramme has the potential to transformthe post-retirement life by equipping themwith a formal qualification and preparingthem for competitive job avenues, theVice Chancellor observed. The Indian Army has a robust educa-tional and training infrastructure, includ-ing 38 Regimental Training Centres, 55Human Resource Development Centres,11 Central Training Centres and other es-tablished Schools of Instruction. Thesecentres, under the MoU, are being regis-tered as Community Colleges.A soldier, who desires to enhance hiseducational standards and qualifications,will take admission in a Community Col-lege in his training academy and will pur-sue the course according to his time andpace. After successful completion of twoyears, he will be awarded an AssociateDegree. To pursue higher education afteracquiring the Associate Degree, he will begiven lateral entry to the third year of athree-year degree course for a graduatedegree. The soldiers will need 96 creditsfor being awarded a graduate degree. A five-member Joint Consultative Com-mittee (JCC) representing IGNOU and theIndian Army has been formed to formulatea structured curriculum for the two-yearAssociate Degree as well as well-definedguidelines for in-service soldiers to en-hance their education and upgrade skills.The training modules for the AssociateDegree will be designed and provided bythe Army in collaboration with IGNOU,while the certification will be carried outby the University.The joint development of the trainingmodules for the degrees will be need-based and decided by the JCC, which willalso oversee the award of credits and re-lated matters. A liaison cell for the Armyhas been be set up at IGNOU campus. The first semester will be a certifica-tion course consisting of basic militarytraining. This will earn a soldier 16 cred-its. For soldiers who have not completedClass XII, this will count as a bridgecourse. The second semester will impartadvanced military training to the soldiersand earn them 16 credits. During the thirdsemester, the soldiers will join applica-tion-oriented courses to earn 16 creditsand in the fourth semester, undergo com-pulsory internship and project work toearn 16 more credits. These 64 credits will be for work withinthe Army. These will then be transferableto his credits when he earns a degreefrom IGNOU, where the soldier will earnthe remaining 32 credits. Soldiers willhave to complete their third year withIGNOU within five years of being grantedan associate degree.If need be, IGNOU will also introducenew subjects in the curriculum. The de-grees awarded to the soldiers on comple-tion of 96 credits will be similar to theone granted to other students, ViceChancellor Pillai explained.nGyan Deep will help mecomplete my graduationwhile in the Army and willenable me to embark on areasonably good careerafter my retirement. It is aboon for thousands of armypersonnel like me who will retire at a relativelyyoung age.Naik P. M. Babu of the Indian ArmyCredit for WorkArmy officers and jawanswill get 64 Credits for thework they do in the first 4 semesters, before earningacademic credits for a Graduate Degree.Ist Semester: 16 Credits2nd Semester: 16 Credits3rd Semester: 16 Credits4th Semester: 16 CreditsIGNOU Course: 32 Credits Total Credits: 96 CreditsMarking the IGNOU Foundation Dayon November 19, the UnionHuman Resource DevelopmentMinister Kapil Sibal inaugurated a state-of-the-art modular laboratory at the Univer-sitys campus in New Delhi.Dr. Sunita Malhotra, Director of theSchool of Sciences (SOS), said The newamenity has the latest facilities for theUniversitys post-graduate science students.The laboratory, which can accommo-date up to 40 students at a time, hasbeen conceptualised and designed by Kewaunee Labway India, she added.The lab is fitted with vacuum, gas andelectricity lines; and is designed to meetthe highest safety standards.nIGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 200912NEWSupdatePresident Smt Pratibha DevisinghPatil launched IGNOUs new education platform FlexiLearnon November 19. FlexiLearn isan innovation by IGNOU that will enableprospective learners to sample a coursebefore enrolling for it. This will help themchoose the most relevant and appropriate course and programme.The FlexiLearn portal provides freeaccess to IGNOU courses. It is designedas a personal learning space where freeresources are integrated with the learn-ing management system, whatever bethe learners educational qualificationsand needs. The Certification by IGNOU,however, will be contingent on comple-tion of all learning activities and the pay-ment of the requisite fee.Any visitor to the FlexiLearn website has an option to register for anyparticular course or a full-length academic programme. Once registered,there is also an option to combine coursecredits to obtain a diploma or degree ofhis or her choice. The platform provides a self-learningenvironment, with a list of academic advisers and course guides as mentors.The platform will enable recourse to interactive tools like discussion boards,blogs, Wikis, podcasting and RSS feeds. Each programme will have the optionfor both online and offline assessment,based on the learners choice. Thelearner will also be able to submit himself to exams on demand. Additionally, the registered learner willhave a complete track record of his online activities through his own e-portfolio. It will keep a record of allformal and informal studies carried outby the learner. The model provides a flex-ible framework for the Universitysschools of studies to identify and com-bine different courses already available,and to offer new need-based programmesof study.nUnion HRD Minister Kapil Sibal inaugurating the new modular chemistry Lab atIGNOUs School of Sciences (SOS). Also seen (from left) are Union Minister of Statefor HRD D. Purandeswari; Director of SOS Prof. Sunita Malhotra; Raman Chair ProfP.T. Manoharan; IGNOU Vice Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai; and SoS facultymember Prof B.S. Saraswat.Varsity gets modular chemistry labThe President inaugurating IGNOUs FlexiLearn portal at the Silver Jubliee launch.FlexiLearn: Learn it your wayAccessing FlexiLearnl Visit http://www.ignouflexilearn.ac.in and register for freel Login to access the open coursesl Browse courses by title, topic or levell Search courses through keywordsl Register for individual courses for certification by paying thecourse fees l Join course discussion groups for peer-to-peer interactionIGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 2009 13In another initiative to mark its Silver Jubilee year, the Universityhas launched a Student Satisfaction Survey in order to im-prove its services and evolve more student-friendly study pro-grammes. The survey attempts to elicit feedback from students on thestandard and quality of IGNOUs learning material, academic coun-selling, communication, examinationprocedures and relevance of coursematerial. It also seeks to measure theoverall satisfaction levels of the stu-dents.In a message to the students of theUniversity, Vice Chancellor Prof V.N.Rajasekharan Pillai wrote, As thelargest distance education institutionin the world, we have always tried toimpart skills for imbibing knowledge and competencies. Its ourbelief that you, as former or present students, are the best per-sons to judge how far we have succeeded in our efforts.Your inputs shall guide us towards improving our services andevolving more student-friendly study programmes, Prof Pillai said.Students can send in their feedback by clicking on the link Stu-dent Satisfaction Survey displayed prominently on the home pageof the IGNOU website.nThe United Nations Edu-cational, Scientific andCultural Organisation(Unesco) has evinced keen in-terest in jointly certifying se-lect programmes beingoffered by IGNOU. Armoogum Parsuramen, Director of Unescos SouthAsia office, said the UNagency would, to begin with,look at certifying IGNOUsmasters course in journalismand communication. Thecourse has been adapted byIGNOU from the model journal-ism curriculum formulated byUnesco in 2008. Parsuramenwas speaking at a symposiumon Media Education: Chal-lenges and Opportunities atthe IGNOU campus in NewDelhi on November 20. The symposium was organ-ised by IGNOUs School ofJournalism and New MediaStudies, as part of its SilverJubilee Celebrations.The Unesco Director saidhis organisation was keen topartner with institutions likeIGNOU to widen the reach ofeducation, train teachers andupgrade course material.He offered Unescos assis-tance in forging a wider part-nership between theUniversity and countries inAfrica to expand the reach ofthe varsitys satellite-enabled,direct-to-home educationalprogrammes.nfactoid In 2009, IGNOU started its community college initiative,launching 47 such colleges. The university has plans to set up 500 more by 2011.Unesco keen to jointly certify IGNOU coursesIGNOUs School of Journalismand New Media Studies (SO-JNMS), in collaboration with theDW-Akademie of Deutsche Welle,Germanys international broad-caster, conducted a two-week Trainthe Trainer (ToT) programme at itsNew Delhi campus on November 6.Twenty participants from variousorganisations like the UN Devel-opment Programme and Lal Ba-hadur Shastri National Academy ofAdministration were among thetrainees, apart from journalists andacademicians.Train theTrainerStudent SatisfactionSurvey launchedArmoogum Parsuramen,Unesco Director (S. Asia)NEWSupdateTwo new Chairs have been instituted at IGNOU.While eminent space scientist and PlanningCommission Member Dr K. Kasturirangan is thenew ISRO Chair for Satellite Communication Edu-cation, Prof P. T. Manoharan is the first RamanChair for Mathematics and Science Education. DrKasturirangan directed the Indian Space pro-gramme for over nine years and retired as theChairman of the Indian Space Research Organ-isation (ISRO). Dr Kasturirangan is a recipient of a number of awardsfrom the Government of India, including the Padma Vibhushan in2000. He has also been a Rajya Sabha MP. In 2002, France honouredhim with its highest civilian award, 'Officer of the Lgion d'honneur'. In his long and distinguished career, Dr Kasturirangan has eitherheaded or has been associated with almost every institution of note re-lated to science in India. He has been awarded with Honorary Causa by16 Universities, including IGNOU. Prof Manoharan is a distinguished professor of chemistry and hasheld a bevy of prestigious positions in institutions related to scienceand technology in India. He has been a recipient ofthe Ramanna Fellowship, instituted by the Depart-ment of Science and Technology. He was a hon-orary professor at IIT Madras, before he acceptedthe Raman Chair. At IGNOU, Prof Manoharan willinitiate, plan and coordinate academic activities, in-cluding creation of study programmes, researchpapers, books and multi-media material, for vari-ous levels of learning. Two new Chairs at IGNOUDr KasturiranganProf ManoharanIGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 200914The IGNOU library network system islaunching a slew of new initiativesin the coming weeks to mark theUniversitys Silver Jubilee year.To begin with, IGNOU would co-hostthe International Conference on DigitalLibraries, ICDL-2010, in collaborationwith The Energy and Research Institute(TERI), in New Delhi from February 23-26, 2010. The theme of the conferencewill be Digital Libraries: Shaping the Information Paradigm. IGNOU will kick off another initiative,NODLINET, to strengthen the process ofsetting up an Open and Distance Learning(ODL) library. Under this initiative, the library network system will provide accredited standards and guidelines for establishing distance learning libraries at various Regional and StudyCentres.The central library network will guidethe Regional Centres and Study Centreson infrastructure, manpower and other requirements for establishing a distance digital library. Another move by the Universitys library system is to create theCERODLE-Resources Consortium. Under this initiative, the University will tie up with other digital networkswhich subscribe to e-resources in variousdisciplines of study.Automation of digital libraries at theRegional Centres will be stabilised and an agreement with the National Informat-ics Centre executed for automation of libraries. Some other planned initiativesinclude a web portal with access management and authentication besides the creation of a web-based delivery mechanism.nIGNOU to upgrade library systemIn a first-of-its-kind partner-ship in India, IGNOU hassigned an agreement withSwedish telecom giant Ericsson to enable students toaccess its course materialusing 3G mobile telephony.The agreement was initialled in New Delhi on October 9. Students of IGNOUcan now look forward to down-loading their course contentand get SMS alerts, throughtheir mobiles.IGNOU is open to using thelatest technologies that areavailable to reach the maxi-mum number of students. Wewill specifically target ruralstudents who cannot alwayshave a one-to-one meetingwith teachers, Vice Chancel-lor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai said. Each student may have toshell out an additional Rs 25over and above what they arepaying now. We will also re-quest the government to giveconcessions to those who can-not afford it. The cost perhead will gradually come downas more and more students access the service, Prof Pillai added.Prof K.R. Srivathsan, Pro-Vice Chancellor of IGNOU, saidthe 3G initiative will also helpconnect students in remoteareas. With this, studentscan access the web pages ofthe courses, download filesand assignments, and alsowatch video clips.A certificate course in IT,covering 5,000 students, willbe the pilot project using 3Gservices. Based on its success, we will then chartout other courses and con-tent, Prof Srivasthan added.Gowton Achaibar, presidentof Ericsson India, said that hiscompany will build a 3G envi-ronment for students to down-load course content. We willalso provide other tools likeSMS alerts etc.IGNOU is talking to othertelecom operators like thestate-run Mahanagar Tele-phone Nigam Ltd. and BharatSanchar Nigam Ltd., who havealready rolled out 3G services,to enable more and more stu-dents to access this facility.nNow, get IGNOU content on 3G phonesNEWSupdateEricsson India Chief Gowton Achaibar in conversation with Prof K. R. Srivathsan, Pro-VC, IGNOU. IGNOU held its first-ever Sanskrit seminar tomark the formal launch of its online certifi-cate programme in the ancient language, atits New Delhi campus recently.The certificate programme is offeredjointly by Chinmaya International Foundation(CIF) and the Universitys School of Interdisci-plinary and Trans-Disciplinary Studies (SOITS).K.N. Shrivastava, Director-General, Archae-ological Survey of India, and Acharya BhadantGayan Jagat, were the Chief Guests at thefunction. Several distinguished Sanskrit schol-ars participated in the seminar. Dr Vandita Arora of Indraprastha College,Delhi University, delivered a lecture on Vedaand Vedanta. Dr Didhiti Chakraborti, Head,Department of Sanskrit, spoke on The concept of education as reflected in ancientSanskrit texts.In his inaugural speech, IGNOU Vice Chan-cellor, Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai said, Weplan to launch several advanced programmesin Indology and Vedanta, as well as certificateprogrammes in other Indian languages. Shrivastava, in his address, said that San-skriti and Sanskrit were inter-linked. Withoutunderstanding Sanskrit, it would be difficultto understand Indian culture and Ayurveda.Students at IGNOU library in New Delhi.First Sanskrit seminarIGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 200915To improve educational facilities in Bihar,and launch market-driven vocationalcourses for its youth, IGNOU is setting up400 training centres in the state. The centreswill also train government officials.The IGNOU training centres will beequipped with computer labs to provide dis-tance education through information technol-ogy to the remotest parts of the state, saidan official of the University. In addition, it is estimated that during theyear 2009-10, over 25,000 government offi-cials will also be trained. These programmes will not only enablethem to become competitively skilled, on a parwith the workforce of other states, but also helpBihar to significantly improve its position in theHuman Development Index, the official said.The state government has already signed anagreement for implementation of the statesponsored project Samarth in collaborationwith IGNOU. The Varsity has been selected asthe knowledge partner for the state.IGNOU to set up 400 centres in BiharThe IGNOU Institute for VocationalEducation and Training (IIVET), Shillong, in collaboration with theNorth-East Girls Students Associa-tion (NEGSA) and North Eastern Develop-ment Finance Corporation Ltd. (NEDFL),organised a Multi-Skill and Leadership Programme in Guwahati. The programme, from September 10 to30, was specifically designed for youngwomen from families affected by Naxal vi-olence. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi inaugurated the event, which was at-tended by 70 participants. They weregiven intensive training in yoga and medi-tation, art of public speaking, communica-tion skills, self-defence, law, RTI Act,entrepreneurship, leadership, time man-agement, interview skills, disaster man-agement and first-aid.nRecognising that a substantial number of its over 2 million stu-dents belong to the North-East,IGNOU is set to launch diploma and cer-tificate programmes in agriculture, spe-cially designed for the region.This was announced by Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Om Prakash Mishra while addressing the North-East India NationalSeminar in New Delhi on October 30. The Seminar was titled StrengtheningDevelopment Processes in North-EastIndia: Identifying Scope and Challenges inDevelopment and Governance.Prof Mishra said it was the first seminar IGNOUs North-East Centre for Research and Development (NECRD) wasorganising in collaboration with the NorthEast Development Foundation (NEDF). The day-long discussions focused on strengthening the developmentprocesses in the North-East. U.K.Sangma, Secretary, North Eastern Council, was the chief guest. IGNOUs programmes in the pipeline for the North-East are PG diplomas in foodsafety and quality management, planta-tion management; diploma programmes in value-added products from fruits and vegetables; dairy and meat technology;value-added products from cereals, pulsesand oilseeds; fish product technologies;and watershed management. Additionally, certificate programmes in organic farming, sericulture, water harvesting, beekeeping and poultry farming are also being planned. The University is also planning to offer a PG certificate programme in agriculture policy.nPlans on for new courses in North-EastPro-VC Prof Om Prakash Mishra.REGIONALroundupBihar CM Nitish Kumar and VC Prof Pillai sign an MoU for Samarth project.At left is Dy CM Sushil Kumar Modi.Training for Naxal-hit womenAssam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi(above) inaugurating the Multi-Skilland Leadership Programme inGuwahati. Participants at theprogramme (below). Anational level five-day workshop foracademicians onResearch in Distance andOnline Learning was heldat IGNOUs New Delhi cam-pus recently. The workshop was organised by Staff Trainingand Research Institute ofDistance Education(STRIDE). The workshopwas coordinated by Prof Santosh Panda, arenowned expert in distance education.The workshop focusedon building the capacity of teachers in open univer-sities, and dual mode institutions in India, to undertake quality research. The workshopwas a part of the activities organised to celebrate the Silver Jubilee Year of the University. The workshop saw the participants producing original, empirical research proposals in a relatively short period.The workshop discussed techniques ofdeveloping research proposals qualitatively(using anthropological community-based informa-tion) and quantitatively(data-based, statistically-experimented information)in the field of distance andonline learning (DOL). The workshop alsoworked on (a) Pre-mentoringsupport, such as facilita-tion, literature support, personal guidance and critical analysis; (b) Post-workshop mentoring suchas critical review of draftproposals; and (c) develop-ment of final proposals. Research should bemade a habit in ones educational activities, without it one cannotachieve quality, Prof Parvin Sinclair, Pro-Vice Chancellor of IGNOU, observed. Earlier, inaugurating the workshop, ViceChancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillaisaid, It is important to dispel the currentmisperception that doctoral research isnot possible in distance mode.IGNOU OPEN LETTER | DECEMBER 15, 200916MILESTONESONCAmpusHIGHLIGHTSFirst Convocation1989: IGNOU was established by an Act ofParliament in 1985 to introduce and pro-mote Open and Distance Learning (ODL) atthe university level. The University was alsomandated to coordinate, determine andmaintain standards in ODL systems acrossthe country. IGNOU held its first Convocationin 1989. More than 1,000 graduate learnerswere awarded degrees and diplomas at the event. The then Prime Minister LateShri Rajiv Gandhi was the Chief Guest at the ceremony. New VC takes chargeMay 1990: Prof. V.C. Kulandaiswamy takesover as the second Vice Chancellor of IGNOU.First international training programme is held.May 1990: IGNOU conducts its first joint COL-IGNOU training programme for learnersfrom India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.IGNOU goes on airJanuary 1991: All India Radio relays IGNOUscourses from Mumbai and, Hyderabad.May 1991: Doordarshan beams IGNOUs educational audio-visual programmes. UGC upgrades IGNOUs awardsFebruary 1992: IGNOUs degrees, diplomasand certificates were decreed by the Univer-sity Grants Commission (UGC) as equivalentto those of other universities in the country.The journey beginsTUESDAYDecember 1509:30: UGC/CEC: Developmental Biology16:00: IGNOU-SOCIS:BIT/ADIT-67VE: StaffManagement18:30: INIOS-Sec.(Hindi)1. Self Employment2. Animal Husbandry21:30: IGNOU:Gateway to Japan Part 1 & 222:00: IGNOU/Culture: Music of LifeTHURSDAYDecember 1708:30: IGNOU-SOE:Organic Reaction Clinical Mechanism (A Romaticity And Reactivity of AromaticCompounds)11:30: North EastKaleidoscope/WomenEmpowerment: Music of Life21:30: IGNOU:The Social Work Response to HIV in the U.S.SUNDAYDecember 2008:30: IGNOU-SOE:Biological EvolutionAnd Speciation11:00: UGC/CEC: Video Lecture Series:Political Communica-tion in IndiaTUESDAYDecember 2208:30: IGNOU-SOCE(PGDJMC): InsectsPests/Management 21:30: IGNOU:Crop ProtectionFRIDAYDecember 2508:30: IGNOU-SOS: PHE-13: Introduction to Crystal Structure 20:00: UGC/CEC: Hermeneutics and Deconstruction IV,Understanding Human DesignMONDAYDecember 2806:O0: IGNOU:In Focus09:30: UGC/CEC: Colours of Minerals09:30: IGNOU-Urdu Programme: Khwateenaur Unke Masaail/1980ke Baad ki Urdu GhazalTHURSDAYDecember 3108:30: IGNOU-SOCE:Development of Scheduled Castes 11:30: North East Kaleidoscope/WomenEmpowerment16:30: Techniques of Artificial Intelligence[Not to beMissedWatch a special programmeon Archaeological Treasures of Assam (Part-1) on Thursday (December 31). There are currently more than40 discovered ancient archaeo-logical sites across Assam, with numerous sculptural and architectural remains.]STRIDEs distance learning workshopPro-Vice Chancellor Prof Parvin Sinclair. n