Open letter March

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Open letter March



    Indira Gandhi National Open University, in addition to providing higher education at the Graduate,

    Post-Graduate and Doctoral levels, has a strong presence in the skill development and

    vocational education sectors across the country. This is reflected in the number of Diplomas

    and Certificates awarded by the University during the last five Convocations. Out of the seven

    lakh qualifications awarded by the University in the last five years, 2.5 lakh (35 percent) were

    graduates and above, and 4.5 lakh (65 percent) were Certificates and Diplomas. This emphasis

    on skill development is well in line with the objectives of the University delineated in the IGNOU

    Act, 1985: To strengthen and diversify the Degree, Certificate and Diploma courses related to

    the needs of employment and necessary for building the economy of the country on the basis of

    its natural and human resources; provide education and training in the various arts, crafts and

    skills of the country, raising their quality and improving their availability to the people.

    A seamless transition from the Certificate/Diploma to higher-level university degrees is also

    intended through such activities. The course-credit pattern and the modularity of the various

    courses, which constitute several programmes leading to a qualification,

    were in vogue in IGNOU from its very inception. In this connection, it is very

    important that the University system should promote the Diploma to Degree

    transition for aspiring Diploma holders. In the technical education system,

    there are avenues in specific universities for Diploma holders to join at the

    second or third year of the Engineering Degree Programme. A similar pattern

    is necessary for the conventional universities and the Open University

    System as well.

    The fact that a vast majority of these Diploma holders are working people

    from industry or working in grassroots-level organisations lends further

    credibility to this proposal. Making Diploma or Advanced Diploma holders eligible for admission

    to a University Degree has been an established practice in higher education systems all over

    the world. In the US University system, 46 percent of the admissions to University Degree

    programmes are through the Associate Degree (Credit equivalence to the Advanced Diploma)

    programme of the vast and robust network of Community Colleges over there. This will be a

    major step towards linking the skill development sector and vocational education with higher

    education, that is the major forte of the University System.

    In the proposed National Vocational Qualification Framework (NVQF) of the Ministry of

    Human Resource Development, this transfer from the vocational sector to the higher education

    sector is being facilitated. Certificate (16 credits), Diploma (32 credits), Advanced Diploma

    or Associate Degree (64 credits) which is a terminal qualification are the qualifications

    prevalent in the skill development and vocational education sectors. The difference between

    the Advanced Diploma and Associate Degree specifications are that the Associate Degree

    provides additional content, which will make the candidates well-prepared for University

    education in the concerned discipline.

    A look at the Statistical Bulletin on the 2010 status of the Open University System of China

    indicates that the Associate Degree, which is in between the Certificate and Bachelors

    Degree, is the largest qualification base over there. In 2010, 4,12,400 students graduated

    with an Associate Degree, 6,914 received a Bachelors Degree and 38,000 received

    Certificates from the China Open University System.

    Similar possibilities of acquiring two-year Associate Degree/Advanced Diploma qualifications

    and making students employable in the work-sector and at the same time giving them

    opportunity to acquire a higher qualification from a University, as and when they want, are in

    existence in all developed and fastly-developing countries. IGNOU has initiated the two-year

    Associate Degree Programme through the Community Colleges in line with the

    recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission and the Planning Commission,

    Government of India. After a two-year-long academic deliberation involving expertise from all

    over the country, we formally launched the programme in 2008. The first Associate Degrees

    are being awarded in the forthcoming Convocation of the Indira Gandhi National Open University.

    Such efforts in skill development that provide multiple horizontal and vertical pathways for

    mobility are very necessary for making people employable and enhancing the Gross Enrollment

    Ratio (GER). The Governments of Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, Indian Army, Indian Navy,

    M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Jindal Education Initiative, Ministry of Textiles,

    Government of India, Apparel Promotion and Exports Council (APEC) of India and about 300

    Civil Society Organisations in the public and private sector are the partners of IGNOU in this

    nationwide Community College Initiative.



    Strengthening HR

    Bars No Barriers

    INFOCUS: The four-

    year period of the

    11th Plan heralds an

    overall faculty/staff

    growth, thus

    redefining the

    concept of HR

    Management within

    the IGNOU system


    NEWS UPDATES..........11




    GYAN DARSHAN..........16

    8 SPOTLIGHT: IGNOUs freeeducation initiative has given

    prisoners a new lease of life

    through the first-ever placement

    drive for jail inmates in the

    country held at Tihar Jail

    IGNOU OPEN LETTER is Printed by Printek

    Grafix, 148-D, Pocket-F, GTB Enclave, Delhi-

    110093 and Published by Ravi Mohan,

    Chief Public Relations Officer, Indira Gandhi

    National Open University, Maidan Garhi.

    New Delhi 110068. Ph: +91-11-29571000

    (30 lines); +91-11-29535924-29

    Fax: +91-11-29535933;


    Managing Editor: Ravi Mohan

    Photos: Rajesh Sharma/Amlan Paliwal

    Advisory Council:

    Prof P.R. Ramanujam,

    Dr Latha Pillai

    Design and Production:

    IANS Publishing (


    V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai

  • IGNOU OPEN LETTER | MARCH 15, 2011 3


    Even a little bit of training in the

    field of tourism will contribute to

    employment, which is why every

    state must realise the worth of this

    sector, said Union Minister for Tourism

    Subodh Kant Sahai at the national seminar

    on Skills Development in Tourism &

    Hospitality Sector in India, organised by

    the School of Tourism and Hospitality

    Services Sectoral Management

    (SOTHSSM) on March 18.

    In the tourism industry, even if we

    spend a meagre amount, the returns are

    enormous. IGNOU is doing a great job in

    this field by training even school drop-

    outs, Sahai said in his valedictory speech.

    The minister also pointed out the

    importance of those pursuing the courses and

    said, Domestic tourism is also a big area of

    activity. People indulge in religious pilgrimages

    to Amarnath, Vaishno Devi, and other places,

    and wherever such activities happen, your

    requirement is absolutely necessary.

    The seminar comprised of two technical

    sessions the first focussing on the

    challenges of skills development and the

    second, a panel discussion on the human

    resource development in the tourism &

    hospitality sector.

    This industry contributes to seven

    percent of the Gross Domestic Product

    (GDP). The public and private sector

    together can meet 40 percent of the

    demand, but the question comes as to

    how other industries could innovatively

    deal with this industry, said Vice

    Chancellor Prof V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai.

    Invoking the Universitys collaboration

    with the Madhya Pradesh government, the

    VC extended his hand towards collaborating

    with the Jharkhand government by

    requesting Sahai to take necessary action

    for the same.

    Home catering, such as the famous

    Dabbawalas of Mumbai, is growing in a

    huge way and can be a lucrative growth

    opportunity for the country. All we need to

    do is tap the skills and channelise the

    capacities. There should not only be job

    seekers, but job creators as well. The

    entrepreneurial skills should be honed

    at skills development level, said Pro-VC

    Prof K.R. Srivathsan.

    According to Dr Harkirat Bains, Director,

    SOTHSSM, We are offering programmes

    ranging from Certificate to Ph.D. to meet

    various demands of the tourism and

    hospitality sector. The recently introduced

    certificate programmes in Housekeeping,

    Front Office Operations and Food &

    Beverages Services aim at educating

    students in some of the core areas. They

    add value by upgrading skills and make

    students employable immediately.

    Tap opportunities in tourism sector

    Union Minister for Tourism Subodh Kant Sahai addressing the gathering at the seminar

    organised at the IGNOU Convention Centre on March 18.

    The University has signed a Memorandum ofUnderstanding (MoU) with the Commissionerof Higher Education, Government of Madhya

    Pradesh (MP) to offer Certificate, Diplo