Open Letter June 2010
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IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JUNE 15, 20102
In just four years, IGNOU has, in the face of stiff competition fromboth public and private institutions, almost trebled the number ofstudents on its rolls from 1.1 million to 3 million. Today, we arethe largest university in the world a fact confirmed by aWikipedia listing of 61 top universities in the world by studentenrollment. Pakistans Allama Iqbal Open University is a distantsecond at 1.8 million students, followed by Irans Islamic AzadUniversity with 1.3 million. B.R. Ambedkar University, the oldestopen university in India, comes in at No. 9 with 450,000 students.
A close perusal of the list provides some interesting insights.There is only one private institution in the Top 10, and only two in
the Top 20. All the institutions in theTop 10 are from developing nations,barring the University System of Ohio in the U.S. And, most importantly, thereare as many as four open universities atthe head of the list, underlining the factthat the Open and Distance Learning(ODL) system is the best way fordeveloping countries with largepopulations to bridge the knowledgedivide. As a system, ODL is not onlyflexible and innovative but, because it
provides economies of scale, it is also the cheapest way to takehigher education to the largest number of people, many of whomlive on the margins of society with little or no access toconventional education.
Indeed, flexibility and innovation have had a lot to do withIGNOUs emergence as the worlds largest university. In these pastfour years, we have been able to reach out to multitudes of learnersbecause of our ability to forge unconventional and rewardingalliances. We have collaborated with public and private institutionsin education at the state and national levels, as well as othersectors such as technology, health, IT, management and science.In the social sectors too, we have had fruitful collaborations likethe one with local Panchayati Raj institutions.
Such tie-ups have, among other things, allowed us to optimallyuse state-of-the-art facilities available with these institutions thatwould otherwise have remained under-utilised. It has allowed us toreach the unreached, skilled and unskilled and take education tothe doorsteps of every learner.
There are huge challenges ahead. Having the largest number ofstudents on our rolls is one thing, but it is quite another to ensurethat these students receive the kind of quality education that theydeserve. At IGNOU, we have set out to do this by innovatively usingtechnology and evolving effective management informationsystems to strengthen our processes. We have been on adecentralisation drive so as to ensure that activities that arecrucial to our students are located closer to where they are. Overthe past couple of years, our Student Services Division has beenleading the charge in decentralising the examination process. Thedistribution of study material is now undertaken by the RegionalCentres. And the examination process itself is being computerised.
Clearly, harnessing technology to our purposes is the only way inwhich we will be able to deliver the kind of quality education andskills development that are the need of the hour for India. We areon our way, but a lot more remains to be done.
Knitting A Future
The German Edge
IN FOCUS: The IGNOU-IAM Fashion and DesignManagement Centre andATDC-IGNOU CommunityCollege Schemes are setto create an industry-ready managerial cadrefor the growing apparelindustry
NATURE ZONE ................8
REGIONAL UPDATES .....14
10 SPOTLIGHT: IGNOU, Goethe Institut and University of Vienna, Austria, launch Diploma inTeaching German (DTG) as a Foreign Language indistance mode to bridge the demand-supply gap
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FROMTHE VICE CHANCELLOR
V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai
IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JUNE 15, 2010 3
IGNOU and UNESCOs SouthAsia Regional Office in NewDelhi are going to organise aScience Olympiad to test thescholastic aptitude of thestudents in the SAARC region.Those enrolled in class XI orequivalent in other SAARCcountries can apply.
Higher Secondary studentsenrolled in Indian Boards ofEducation or equivalent in the Boards inSouth Asian countries Afghanistan,Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal,
Pakistan and Sri Lanka havean opportunity to win IGNOU-UNESCO accredited meritcertificates, prizes and awards,said Vice Chancellor Prof VNRajasekharan Pillai.
Students who have scored aminimum of an average of 70percent in Mathematics,Physics, Chemistry and Biologyin the 10th standard or
equivalent are eligible to participate,announced Dr PT Manoharan, Sir CVRaman Chair Professor in IGNOU and
former VC of Madras University andfaculty of IIT-M and IIT-K.
School principals/authorities arerequested to forward the applications tothe students along with a demanddraft/credit card authorisation of Rs 50.
The successful participants willreceive Certificates of Merit, medals,cash prizes and awards. Top 1,000participants will be given IGNOU-UNESCOaccredited merit certificates.
For details, visit: http://www.ignou.ac.in/ramanchair and www.unesco.org/newdelhi/science olympiad.
Olympiad to motivate childrens sci-math learning
With the aim of takingvocational education andtraining to people living Belowthe Poverty Line (BPL) in sixbackward states in eastern India, IGNOUhas formally launched the RegionalInstitute of Vocational Education andTraining (RIVET).
It was inaugurated by Union Minister ofLabour and Employment MallikarjunKharge on May 27. RIVET is a jointcollaboration between IGNOU and Councilfor Integrated Tribal Research andAwareness Programme (CITRAP), an NGOworking for the welfare of SC/STs inPhulbani in Orissas Kandhamal district.
RIVET was created in April 2009 and isbeing coordinated by Prof Pandav Naik ofIGNOU. It provides vocational programmesin both online and offline mode, withjudicious use of technology, to the mostbackward in the country. As part of theinitiative, 16 IGNOU programmes havebeen identified for offer to students.
These will be vocational courses, whichwill supplement the nine programmes incomputers and IT, which are already beingjointly run by IGNOU and SAHAJ, an NGO.
According to Prof Naik, RIVET ismandated to take employability-focusededucation to the people living in the mostbackward regions of the country.
The programmes range from computersand IT, Master's in Tourism Managementand Hospital Administration, Bachelors
Degree Programmes in Nursing, FashionDesign, Textile Design, Retailing, etc.
It also offers PG Diploma and DiplomaProgrammes in Community Radio, IT, NGOManagement and Business-ProcessOutsourcing, among others. The jointendeavour between IGNOU and CITRAP isin line with the National Agenda of SkillsDevelopment, Kharge said. Srikant Jena,Minister of State for Fertiliser andChemicals, said, Skills development is
the first step out of the poverty grind... Weneed to train more trainers.
In this decade of Innovation, IGNOUtargets to provide skillbased education to50 crore youth by 2020. Vocationaleducation is very important for improvingthe economic condition of the countrysbackward community. IGNOU has beenlooking at skill development in a holisticmanner, said Vice Chancellor Prof V.N.Rajasekharan Pillai.!
Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge inaugurating the RIVET in New Delhi.
RIVET set to train underprivilaged
Dr PT Manoharan
For Jayetta Rohilla, a student at theIndian Apparel Management (IAM),the experience means a lot, as ithas sharpened her thinking abilitiesand taught her innovative ways to developnew ideas. Dishank Chibber, anotherstudent at the IAM, promoted by theApparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC)Society for Human ResourceDevelopment, feels that the cutting-edgetraining sessions at the institute havegiven him direction, helping him toexplore new horizons in the burgeoningIndian fashion and apparel industry.
The premier institute of apparelmanagement has made its mark as anindustry-driven institution that offers
professional programmes with promisingcareers in the apparel industry. It hasbeen conceptualised to provide cutting-edge education needed for managing theapparel industry in new, competitive era.
What is the role of IGNOU, the worldslargest university, in all this?
IGNOU recognises the need to havemultiple models of delivery that canrespond to different situations and indifferent contexts. The challenge is tomerge right and relevant skills withacademia in as many sectors as possibleand the textile and apparel sector holdsout great promise in this regard, says Vice Chancellor Prof V.N.Rajasekharan Pillai.
IGNOU OPEN LETTER | JUNE 15, 20104
Knitting A FutureINFOCUSThe IGNOU-IAMFashion and DesignManagement Centreand ATDC-IGNOUCommunity CollegeSchemes are set tocreate an industry-ready managerialcadre for the growingapparel industry
With this vision of inclusive growth inmind, wherein learners in remote areastoo can take shelter under the umbrellaof higher education with comfort, IGNOUhas joined hand