IGNOU: Why and how?

Albert Einstein had famously said that the value of a college education is not limited to the learning of many facts but involves the training of the mind to think. But how many in our country have access to higher education? How many can actually afford it? And what about those with a penchant for learning but have to drop out because the college/universities they wish to study in are not in the city they live in? 

As an answer to these questions, the open universities came up. However, there was a time when studying in open universities was not a popular choice. Those were the days when people attended physical classes and education was neither online nor through distance learning. However, in the last two decades and particularly in the last one, education and the systems of education have undergone an intensive transformation. Today, we can take up courses from foreign universities even from the comfort of our homes in India and all of these courses are valid and add weight to our resume. Much before all this began, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) opened its doors to distance education as early as 1985. Headquartered in New Delhi, IGNOU has been offering quality education and training using innovative technology and methodology. It ensures that knowledge is disseminated through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) systems to all.

Now, the question is how does an open university like IGNOU impact the overall system of education? Is it a good choice for those who wish to shift gears in employment? Let’s try and answer the first question.

How Is IGNOU Transforming The Education System In India?

In India, the total number of degree holders is quite less as against the total population. While several factors could be responsible for this, some of them include non-affordability because of the exorbitant cost involved, lack of facilities for equal access to learning, non-access to technology etc. To bridge this gap, IGNOU stepped in to promote knowledge and skill-based education to all to empower and transform society. One look at IGNOU’s website and you can see an array of courses across various subjects ranging from graduation, post-graduation, doctoral, certificate and diploma courses. How are these different and how do they transform the education system in a vast country like ours? The answer lies in the core values that IGNOU stands for which are:  Openness, Flexibility, Affordability, Inclusiveness, life-long learning and finally excellence. 

Because the courses offer openness, they are open to all across age, gender, religion and ethnicity. In fact, what is unique is, it provides opportunities for higher education to those who have been denied access to it due to various reasons. 

IGNOU uses technology to offer seamless teaching-learning opportunities so that there is no barrier to place or pace of learning. That makes its courses flexible.

The courses are affordable so that it benefits those who have not been able to access higher education because they are exorbitant.

IGNOU has set a record by offering its courses to even the marginalized sections of the society like jail inmates and sex workers. Besides, it never discriminates anyone on any basis. Its doors are open to all; it is all inclusive.

Learning is made lifelong by customizing the courses according to the needs of the students who are from diverse backgrounds.

IGNOU strives for excellence in every sphere of learning, be it programme, design, learning material and student support. It is a pioneer in open and distance learning.

All these go on to prove that IGNOU is changing the face of education by making it accessible and affordable. This way, it ensures that people can acquire life skills and soft skills so that they are able to gain access to a wider range of available employment opportunities. That way, people are empowered in an unprecedented way. Women can also benefit through this system immensely as it provides education at the doorstep.

Why Are Courses in IGNOU A Good Opportunity for Those Looking for a Career Switch?

As already mentioned, IGNOU offers courses that are flexible and offer lifelong learning. Besides they are customized to meet the student requirement. If you are working and interested in upgrading your knowledge it is obvious that you are left with no extra time to attend classes, write assignments and appear for exams. What do you do in a situation like this? Besides, if you feel your job is going nowhere and you need to make a switch to explore a new avenue what options do you have? In a situation like this IGNOU with its ODL comes to your rescue.

 It offers you the flexibility and openness to choose from a wide variety of courses. It could be short term or long term, depending on your need and the time you are ready to spend. There are contact classes you can attend in your region, for those who don’t want to step out of their houses, there’s virtual class, there is a nationwide student support network; the courses are flexible in terms of pace, there is resource sharing and networking opportunities with other universities. Besides, IGNOU also has a placement cell and offers placement assistance so getting into a job post a course is not onerous anymore. 

This is an age of technology, a time when people are utilizing every minute of their available time in learning something new, be it a course or a life skill. Also, people are being bold enough to give up a highly lucrative career to pursue something completely offbeat.  If you are among those who want to change the course of your career but don’t know where to make a start, try looking up IGNOU’s website. Your life may never be the same anymore!

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-Janaki Sreenivasan

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