The Indira Gandhi National Open University, the largest mega university in the democratic world, was established by an Act of Indian Parliament in 1985, and started offering academic programmes in 1987- THE diploma in Management and the Diploma in Distance Education with 4528 students. Today, it serves the educational aspirations of about 1.5 million students in 37 countries, including India, through eleven Schools of studies and a network of 59 Regional Centres, 5 Sub-Regional Centres, more than 1400 Study Centres and Tele-Learning centers at its Regional Centres 37 overseas centers. The University offers 129 Certificate, Diploma, Degree and Doctoral programmes comprising around 1000 courses, through a strength of 325 faculty members and academic staff at the Headquarters and Regional Centres and about 25, 000 counsellors drawn from conventional institutions of higher learning, professionals from various organizations, among others. The University is mandated to:
Widen access by offering high quality innovative and need-based programmes at different levels, especially to the disadvantaged segments of society at affordable costs by using a variety of media and technology; and
Promote, coordinate and regulate the standards of education offered through open and distance learning in the country.
To achieve the objectives of widening access with equality of opportunity and provide for continuing professional development and training in all sectors of economy and cater to all cross-sections of society, the Vision and Mission of IGNOU have been reformulated from time to time. Today the Vision reads:
" Indira Gandhi National Open University, the National Resource Centre for Open and Distance Learning with international recognition and presence, shall provide seamless access to sustainable and learner-centric quality education, skill up gradation and training to all by using innovative technologies and methodologies and ensuring convergence of existing systems for massive human resource required for promoting integrated national development and global understanding. "
The University has just completed little more than two decades of its existence. In such a short time, it has contributed significantly to higher education, community education and continuing professional development catering to about 13% of total students enrolled in higher education (and more than 50% of total students in distance education) in the country. As a world leader in distance education, it was conferred the Centre of Excellence Award in Distance Education in 1993 and the Award of Excellence for Distance Education Materials in 1999 by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada. It is committed to quality in teaching, research, training and extension activities, and acts as a national resource center for expertise and infrastructure in the ODL system. With the launch of EduSat (a dedicated satellite for education) on 20th September, 2004 and the establishment of the Inter-University Consortium, the University ushers in a new era of technology-enabled education in the country. Today, there are 132 two-way video-conferencing centers; all RCs, SRCs and high enrolment of SCs have been connected and it has become possible to transact interactive digital content. Growing emphasis is being laid on developing interactive multimedia and online learning, and covering the traditional distance education delivery with modern technology-enabled education within the framework of blended learning.
IGNOU has certain unique features
- National and International jurisdiction
- Flexible admission rules
- Need-based academic programmes at affordable costs
- Diversified learner groups
- Modular programmes and credit system
- Rigorous course development mechanisms
- Multi-lingual and multiple media instructional packages
- Flexibility in terms of place, pace and duration of study
- Use of latest information and communication technologies for blended learning
- An effective and integrated student support services network
- Resource sharing, collaboration and networking with state open universities and distance education/correspondence course institutions.