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IGNOU - The People's University

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[IGNOU - The People's University] [♪sustained note♪] [male narrator] Ancient India was a knowledge nation. We had the world's first university in Nalanda. People from every corner of the world came here to study. Times have changed, and so has the classroom called India. Today we have more than 400 universities, but even that is a small number for millions of students willing to study. For a country trying to be a global knowledge leader, only 1 in every 21 eligible students go for higher education. The remaining 20 belong to the vast majority of underprivileged learners who either don't have access or are unreached, their dream of quality higher learning a distant reality. IGNOU, or the Indira Gandhi National Open University, is trying to change this paradox. Touching the lives of 3 million students, the world's largest university is redefining India's learning landscape. It doesn't wait for learners to come to it; IGNOU goes out to them wherever they are. [The People's University] [♪♪] [♪♪] 25 years ago, IGNOU was founded on the belief that education is the shortest road to empowerment. When IGNOU brought the idea of Open and Distance Learning to India, people got hope for a better life through education. [Prof. MS Swaminathan - Chairman, MSSRF] When IGNOU was started, many people were not very sure about the value of this education system. Today it is beyond question, beyond doubt it is not only valuable but is invaluable. [Dr Narendra Jadhav - Member, Planning Commission] It's a very remarkable story of the evolution of an institution. From nothing they have created now a niche for themselves. And in the ODL sector they are a kind of landmark development which stands on its own. [♪♪] [narrator] IGNOU started with just 2 programmes for 4,000 students. Today it has 323 of them run by 21 schools and 12 divisions. In 2007 alone, 11 new schools were set up. Learners have the option to choose from more than 3,500 courses to get what they're looking for. [students listing courses of study] [♪♪] [narrator] At IGNOU's 21st Convocation Day, as many as 150,000 students got what they aspired for. IGNOU is committed to make higher education accessible to all. Nothing should come in the way of anyone willing to study--not even age. [Saroj Singh] My children are married. Now I'm free to study. [Veena Anand] After 25 years of completing graduation, I became a postgraduate. [narrator] IGNOU took full advantage of multimedia technology to reach the unreached. With Gyan Darshan and Gyan Vani as its main tools, IGNOU gave the cutting edge. With Gyankosh students could access study material at the click of a mouse. But it's through IGNOU's vast network of 61 regional centres that students are reached. They get access to self-learner print material prepared by experts who are best in the business. With more than 2,200 study centres, IGNOU offered contact classes. Subject specialists came in as faculty. All this made IGNOU a powerful alternative to the conventional education system. In that sense, it broke conventions. The university worked hard to change many perceptions. [Rajendra Pawar - Chairman, NIIT] We have to first of all separate the notion that Open Distance is only for not so bright. [male speaker] People who sign up for Open Distance kind of education, you have to be highly motivated. [Prof. Shashi Gulhati - Former IIT Delhi Professor] To that extent, those who go through this process are definitely more self-made. [narrator] Many who said "Why IGNOU?" are now saying, "Why not IGNOU?" [Vimmi] I'm not feeling that I'm wasting my time here. [Kanchan Sharma] I don't think I will struggle for my future. [Aastha] I am happy with it. IGNOU was the best option for me. [♪♪] [narrator] IGNOU's delivery system makes sure you find a success story in India's every nook and corner. For a university that went to people, no distance was long because milestones were more important than miles. [♪♪] Jojobeth is a Nicobari tribal student on the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. It takes her more than a day by ship to reach even the capital of the islands. We are really grateful and thankful that IGNOU had been established post tsunami here. Right now I am doing postgraduate degree in higher education. That is PGDHE. It never came to my imagination that in this remote island we can get higher education, with good quality on top of that. [laughs] [narrator] Now, how far can one go to see IGNOU's reach? [♪♪] Even international borders are not a barrier. It has presence in 34 countries with as many as 53 worldwide partner institutions. For instance, in Kenya it has partnered with the Centre for Open and Distance Education in Nairobi. Joyce is one of the students here. [Joyce] I did come here. I made news all the way in Delhi. But with the Internet and what have you, there are no distances anymore. IGNOU is an institution that didn't start yesterday. You want to deal with institutions that have a standing, institutions that have been there. [narrator] The centre has, at the moment, about 120 students pursuing bachelor's degree courses and MBA. [male speaker] The mode of reaching the students through distance education had not been developed in this country. [Joe Mwangi Mbuthia - Director, CODE] So IGNOU became a best choice for our students. [♪♪] [narrator] So what makes IGNOU a preferred choice? One, of course, is its affordability. IGNOU's fee structure is more welcoming when you compare it with that of any conventional university. [♪♪] For Normaya Chhetri, a destitute girl who was raised in this orphanage in Sikkim, IGNOU came to her life more than just a medium of education. In 2006, I did Bachelor's degree of programmes. It has general subjects. I work as a warden here. Because I don't earn much I found IGNOU affordable to complete my studies. [Rachna Kathuria] It is very much affordable to any and every person. [narrator] Another reason is the flexibility IGNOU offers its students. As many as 45,000 academic counselors help you pick what's best for you. You get your study material at your doorstep. You take your exams on demand. You learn while you earn. You set your own pace in getting what you want. [Sanjeev] If we pursue a regular course, we cannot do a job alongside. [female speaker] With IGNOU I could work as well as study. [Nishi Poonam] I could not attend a regular college, so I chose IGNOU. In terms of flexibility, IGNOU is quite friendly. [Mukta] For those who don't have the time IGNOU fulfills their desire to study. It is ideal not only for those who miss the bus but those who want to ride multiple buses simultaneously. [narrator] But besides being affordable and flexible, the real motivating factor is the prospect of employment. Over the last few years, IGNOU came up with many path-breaking ideas to meet job expectations. Many new programmes were aligned to the needs of the industry. A course like the postgraduate diploma in industrial safety promises to open many doors for its learners. [male speaker] (?) courses candidate there should be a prospective. [Arjun Kumar M] How this course is going to benefit to the individual, individual society, to the industry, to the nation? This course focuses on all these aspects in its syllabus. [♪♪] I am Dr Dave, Ashish Dave. [♪♪] I am pursuing a postgraduate diploma in clinical cardiology. [♪♪] This gives an opportunity for people like me to go more into specialties. We need more doctors who are actually trained in cardiology, and the number is quite less, so I guess IGNOU bridges the gap. I think IGNOU has nothing else to say or prove, I guess. It's just doing a great job. [narrator] Another innovation is the CIAL Academy. IGNOU collaborated with the Cochin International Airport Limited to bring out courses to deal with the duties of aviation industry professionals. [male speaker] 3 years down the line when I finish my course in (?) I will be actually grabbing a great opportunity for my career. [♪♪] We are going to go on learning about air regulations, about cargo, we are going to learn about airport handling, customer service. I can tell you we are going to learn everything what a pilot is going to learn except flying. [♪♪] [male speaker] IGNOU has also become very innovative. Why we went in with IGNOU is because that is the most efficient [CG Krishnadas Nair - Managing Director, DIAL] and fastest way of doing this job. [♪♪] It's like complete knowledge you're going to gain about the aviation industry which till now a person could have gained only after entering into the industry. So placement is something we are not at all worried about. [narrator] Under the IGNOU Army Education Project, Harinder Singh did a postgraduate diploma in rural development. I always wanted to study further. I'm nearing the end of my service. In this diploma, I learnt how to help in the growth of a village. In rural areas children of some castes remain illiterate. More among them are girl children. In this course, I learnt how to improve their lives. I'll do that soon after my retirement. [narrator] IGNOU was found on the principles of social inclusion and democratizing education. Even modularized sections of society were not to be denied this birthright. Gaurav has been in Tihar jail for almost a year, but as a jailbird, getting to do a bachelor's degree in mathematics is something he had never thought of. [Gaurav] There is a Darwin principle: the fittest will survive. If your willpower is strong enough, you will survive. It doesn't matter whether it is inside or outside. You can imagine if IGNOU would not be here now, I would not be here now. So it was very difficult for me to have such kind of dream. [♪♪] [narrator] For the hearing impaired, the university has launched the first ever degree programme in applied sign language. [Geetanjali Nair - Interpreter-cum-teacher] It's a joint venture with IGNOU and University of Central Lancashire in Preston in UK. [narrator] In 2 years' time, these students will go on to become teachers of new methodologies and approaches. [Rima Savla] Before, I studied in a deaf school, but all the teachers over there were hearing and they didn't know sign language, and they used all audism. It was very difficult to understand because we kept watching the teachers but we didn't learn anything because they always spoke, they never used sign language. I feel over here everything is taught in sign language, so I am definitely improving. [Mohd Kakooza] I feel proud why IGNOU heart for deaf have. University open for all people. [♪♪] I'm Krishna Gupta. I'm a sex worker. [narrator] But it was including Kolkata's sex workers and their children that broke new ground. Offering free education to them makes IGNOU's open education complete. [Krishna Gupta] Today I tell my children that I'm studying in IGNOU. I feel it's a big honour. [singing] I live in Sonagachi. When we go to school, everybody tags us as 'children from Sonagachi'. Why can't we study registering our mother's name? [Chaitali] Today IGNOU has made it possible for us to study using our mother's profession. You will get certificates that say you are 'a child of a sex worker'. This is what we liked best. It'll do us a lot of good if we make the most of what we're getting. Because IGNOU's classes have a magnetic appeal to them. [narrator] So don't think education is all about inclusiveness. It smoothens out inequalities imposed by birth or other circumstances. You get the can-do attitude, you take pride in your self-esteem-- just what Gopinath felt while still a student of master's in computer applications. We are the most backward class community. I am the only one, first in the family, stepped into a college. We faced a lot of struggle. I used to do all those jobs like building or welding or cutting the end rods. The moment I said that I am doing MCA, the respect changed. During that time, they will make me to stand and talk. When I said this, they will ask me to sit, sit, sit in the sofa. [♪♪] [narrator] But Gopinath is also a success story of employment. He soon found a job as a software engineer with a leading multinational company. [Gopinath] Because of my quality education as MCA, this company has given me this kind of job. It's really, really fantastic and I feel great about that. [♪♪] [narrator] So IGNOU has been changing lives, because the (?) gets to learn what is relevant. Sure enough, the new innovations have seen IGNOU's student strength go from 1 million in 2003 to almost 3 million by 2010. So IGNOU certainly has the numbers on its side. Recently launched, new schemes like the community colleges will further upgrade skills and give sustainable jobs. [Swaminathan] I have seen, for example, community colleges where there's fisherwomen or tribal women who have taken education first. Community college is going up to the village where the syllabus is flexible, syllabus is related to needs of the people and location-specific, social conditions there, and so on. So the rigidity of the formal education system has been broken. [narrator] So where does all this leave us as far as India's huge skill deficit is concerned? [Jadhav] 90% of our youth go to the job market without any skill. No wonder. If you look at the profile of our existing labor force, 39% of our labor force is illiterate. [narrator] The problem goes deeper. Soon India will have the largest workforce in the world, so our solutions, too, will have to take a different magnitude. Prime Minister has given a very ambitious goal, a mission, that by 2022 India should have 500 million trained personnel. So for this kind of skill development need, there will be a much greater dependence on Open and Distance Learning. [narrator] Already we have 235 million people in the age group of 15 to 24. The impending danger is by 2020 we could have a shortfall of 7 million university seats. We need to think in the next 10 years to really double GER in higher education to a level of maybe 30%. The need is so much that all possible avenues need to be explored and there IGNOU, with its great advantages that it has, can play a very prominent role. So it is our expectation that IGNOU should deliver on this. And if we see the kind of work they're doing already, they seem to be clearly on the right path. We can't wait until everybody has become familiar to it. We have to leapfrog. [narrator] Yes. We have to pick up speed. By tomorrow we will be seeing the light of our knowledge society, but we need many vehicles to drive us to the end of the tunnel. And certainly a People's University will be leading the way in bringing that tomorrow closer to us. [♪♪] [IGNOU - The People's University]

Video Details

Duration: 20 minutes and 35 seconds
Country: India
Language: English
Producer: IGNOU
Views: 184
Posted by: nand on Mar 10, 2012

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), established by an Act of Parliament in 1985, has continuously striven to build an inclusive knowledge society through inclusive education. It has tried to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) by offering high-quality teaching through the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode.

The University began by offering two academic programmes in 1987, i.e., Diploma in Management and Diploma in Distance Education, with a strength of 4,528 students.

Today, it serves the educational aspirations of over 4 million students in India and 36 other countries through 21 Schools of Studies and a network of 67 regional centres, around 3,000 learner support centres and 67 overseas centres.

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