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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 strived hard to increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) by offering high-quality teaching through the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode.
Initially, the university started offering two academic programmes in 1987, i.e., Diploma in Management and Diploma in Distance Education, with 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 centre, around 3,000 learners’ support centre and 67 overseas centre. The University offers about 490 certificate, diploma, degree and doctoral programmes, with strength of nearly 420 faculty members and academic staff at the headquarters and regional centres and about 36,000 academic counselors from conventional institutions of higher learning, professional organizations, and industry among others.
The mandate of the University is to: 1. Provide access to higher education to all segments of the society;
2. Offer high-quality, innovative and need-based programmes at different levels, to all those who require them;
3. Reach out to the disadvantaged section of the society by offering programmes in all parts of the country at affordable costs;
4. Promote, coordinate and regulate the standards of education offered through open and distance learning in the country;
5. To achieve the twin objectives of widening access for all sections of society and providing continual professional development and training to all sectors of the economy, the University uses a variety of media and latest technology in imparting education. This is reflected in the formulated vision of IGNOU, keeping its objectives in focus, which reads;
The demand for higher education in the country has grown enormously. The rise in enrollment in the conventional universities was 5 per cent in the 9th Five Year Plan. Moreover, the higher education system of our country caters only to about 9 million learners, who constitute about 7.5 per cent of the eligible group (between 17-23 years). In the Eleventh Five Year Plan, the Government envisages increasing the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education to 15 per cent, and Distance Education will certainly play a pivotal role in this task.