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Indira Gandhi National Open University
इंदिरा गाँधी राष्ट्रीय मुक्त विश्वविद्यालय
Logo of IGNOU
Motto The People's University
Established 1985
Type Public, Central University
Chancellor President of India (Pranab Mukherjee)
Vice-Chancellor Prof. M. Aslam
Registrar Prof. S V S Chaudhary
Academic staff 325
Admin. staff 1,462 (incl. faculty)
Students 3.5 million (approx.) (2013)[1][2]
Postgraduates 800,000 (2010)
Location Maidan Ghari, Delhi, India
Campus Distance / Regular / Online
Programs 310
Colors Blue and White          
Affiliations UGC, AICTE, COL, DEC, AIU

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (Hindi: इंदिरा गाँधी राष्ट्रीय मुक्त विश्वविद्यालय), known as IGNOU, is a distance learning national university located in IGNOU road, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi, India. Named after former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, the university was established in 1985 with a budget of INR20 billion (20 billion Indian rupees), when the Parliament of India passed the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985 (IGNOU Act 1985).[3] IGNOU is run by the central government of India.[4]

IGNOU, the largest university in the world with 4,000,000 students,[5] was founded to impart education by means of distance and open education, provide higher education opportunities particularly to the disadvantaged segments of society, encourage, coordinate and set standards for distance and open education in India and strengthen the human resources of India through education.[6] Apart from teaching and research, extension and training form the mainstay of its academic activities. It also acts as a national resource centre, and serves to promote and maintain standards of distance education in India.[7] IGNOU hosts the Secretariats of the SAARC Consortium on Open and Distance Learning (SACODiL) and the Global Mega Universities Network (GMUNET) initially supported by UNESCO.

IGNOU has started a decentralisation process by setting up five zones, viz, north, south, east, west and north east. The first of the regional headquarters, catering to four southern states, Pondicherry, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep, is being set up in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.


In 1970 (International Education Year), the Ministry of Education and Social Welfare in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the UGC and the Indian National Commission for cooperation with UNESCO, organised a seminar on 'Open University'. The seminar recommended the establishment of an open university in India on an experimental basis. The government of India appointed an eight-member working group on open university in 1974. The leading role was given to G. Parthasarathi, the then Vice-Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The working group recommended establishing an open university by an act of parliament as early as possible. The university should have jurisdiction over the entire country so that, when it is fully developed, any student even in the remotest corner of the country can have access to its instruction and degrees (Working Group Report, 1974).

The working group suggested several measures to be followed in instructional and management processes of the open university which include: admission procedure, age relaxation, preparation of reading materials, setting up of core group scholars in different fields, setting up of study centres, vehicle of curricular programmes, live contact with teachers, and so on. On the basis of the recommendations of the working group, the Union Government prepared a draft bill for the establishment of a National Open University, but due to some reasons the progress was delayed.

Vice Chancellors
  • Prof. G. Ram Reddy, 1985–1990
  • Prof. V C Kulandaiswamy, 1990–1995
  • Prof. Ram G Takwale, 1995–1998
  • Prof. A W Khan, 1998–2001
  • Prof. H P Dikshit, 2001–2006
  • Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, 2006–2011
  • Prof. M. Aslam, 2013–Present

In 1985, the Union Government made a policy statement for establishment of a national open university. A Committee was constituted by the Ministry of Education to chalk out the plan of action of the national Open University. On the basis of the report of the Committee, the Union Government introduced a Bill in the Parliament. In August 1985, both the Houses of the Parliament passed the Bill. Subsequently, the National Open University came into existence on 20 September 1985. It was named after late prime minister Indira Gandhi. The Indira Gandhi National Open University (established by the Act of Parliament) is responsible for introducing and promoting distance education at the university level, and for coordinating, determining and maintaining standards in such systems functioning in the country.

In 1989, the first Convocation was held and more than 1,000 students graduated and were awarded their diplomas. IGNOU audio-video courses were first broadcast by radio and television in 1990 and IGNOU awarded degrees received full recognition by the University Grants Commission in 1992 as being equivalent to those of other universities in the country.[9]

In 1999, IGNOU launched the first virtual campus in India,[10] beginning with the delivery of Computer and Information Sciences courses via the Internet.


IGNOU currently serves approximately 3.5 million students in India, the headquarters, and 40 other countries abroad. These are UAE, UK, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, Ethiopia, Namibia, Kenya, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Fiji, France, Ethiopia, Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Liberia, West Indies, Samoa, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Nigeria, Mongolia, Zambia.

It has 21 schools and a network of 59 regional centres, 7 sub-regional centres, 2,600 study centres, and 52 overseas centres. Approximately 20% of all students enrolled in higher education in India are enrolled with IGNOU.[11] IGNOU offers 175 academic programs comprising 1100 courses at certificate, diploma and degree levels. It also offers a number of non-accredited extension and skill-oriented programs through the twenty-one schools:

School of Humanities Rita Rani Paliwal
School of Social Sciences D Gopal
School of Sciences Vijayshree
School of Education N K Dash
School of Continuing Education Deeksha Kapoor
School of Engineering & Technology Prof. Subhasis Maji
School of Management Studies Prof. (Mrs.) Srilatha
School of Health Sciences Prof T K Jena
School of Computer & Information Sciences Shashi Bhusan
School of Agriculture Prof S K Yadav
School of Law Prof K Elumalai
School of Journalism and New Media Studies Prof. Kiran Bansal
School of Gender & Development Studies Prof Annu J Thomas
School of Tourism Hospitality Service Sectoral Management Prof. Kapil Kumar
School of Interdisciplinary & Trans-disciplinary Studies Prof Nandini Sinha Kapoor
School of Social Work Gracious Thomas
School of Vocational Education and Training Prof A K Gaba
School of Extension & Development Studies B.K. Pattanaik
School of Foreign Languages Dr. Sushant K. Mishra
School of Translation Studies and Training Prof. A K Singh
School of Performing & Visual Arts Dr. Sunil Kumar


The Indira Gandhi National Open University has the following Eleven Divisions to take care of various activities.

Academic and Coordination Division Prof. Ravindra Kumar
Administrative Division Prof S V S Chaudhary
Construction and Maintenance Sudheer Reddy
Computer Division Dr V S P Srivastav
International Division Dr Silima Nanda
Finance and Accounts Division Sh. L M Pandey
Library and Documentation Division Dr Sudhir K. Arora
Material Production and Distribution Sh. Ashok Kumar
Planning and Development Division Prof. T U Fulzelle
Regional Services Division Dr. Srikant Mohapatra
Student Evaluation Division Prof. Pushplata Tripathi
Student Registration Division Dr. Pankaj Khare

Research Unit

The Research Unit has been established at the Indira Gandhi National Open University vide notification dated 6 October 2008. Prior to that, research-related activities were looked after by the Academic Coordination Division. The Unit has been established with the following objectives:

  • To conduct Research Council and Research Council’s Standing Committee meetings for developing policies and frameworks for conduct of research activities.
  • To register and monitor all full-time and part-time MPhil and PhD candidates.
  • To engage Research Teaching Assistants under IGNOU-DEC RTA Scheme for conduct of research and teaching.
  • To conduct workshops/seminars on research methodology for full-time and part-time research candidates.
  • To facilitate systemic/discipline based research in the University.

A meeting was held on 27 April 2009 with all Directors of Schools and Heads of Divisions, Centres, Units and Institutions, in which the Vice Chancellor informed that the Research Unit will function as a single point contact with the support of Schools, Institutes, Centres and Units in all research- related activities. The Research Unit will perform the following accordingly:

  • Plan and conduct Research Council and RCSC meetings for developing policy frameworks for conducting research activities and approving PhD and MPhil candidates for provisional registration.
  • Prepare policy frameworks and guidelines for MPhil and PhD programs, in particular, and research-related activities, in general.
  • Prepare guidelines and prospectus for MPhil and PhD programs.
  • Receive and process full-time and part-time PhD applications, including international students, registering full-time and part-time MPhil and PhD candidates, and maintain their progress.
  • Notify PhD and MPhil students of registration and their admission in the PhD and MPhil programs.
  • Conduct entrance examinations and term-end examinations for MPhil programs and course work under PhD programs with the support of schools, centres, and institutions of the University.
Sr.No School/Centre/Discipline
1. School of Management Studies(SOMS)
  • Commerce (PhD)
  • Management (PhD)
2. School of Social Science(SOSS)
  • Psychology (BA Psychology Courses, MA Psychology and PhD)
  • History (PhD)
  • Economy (M.Phil & PhD)
  • Sociology (PhD)
  • Library and Information Science (PhD)
  • Anthropology(Masters, M.Phil & PhD)
3. School of Continuing Education (SOCE)
  • Rural Development (PhD)
  • Child Development (PhD)
  • Nutritional Sciences (PhD)
4. School of Gender and Development Studies (SOGDS)
  • Gender and Development Studies (PhD)
  • Women's Studies (PhD)
5. School of Agriculture (SOA)
  • Agriculture Extension (PhD)
  • Dairy Science and Technology (PhD)
6. School of Sciences (SOS)
  • Mathematics (PhD)
  • Physics (PhD)
  • Chemistry (PhD)
  • Life Sciences (PhD)
  • Mathematics/ Science Education(PhD)
  • Geology (PhD)
7. School of Inter-disciplinary and Trans-disciplinary (SOITS)
  • Interdisciplinary & Transdisciplinary studies (PhD)
  • Astro-Physics (M.Phil & PhD)
  • Sri Aurobindo Studied (M.Phil & PhD)
  • Gandhian Thought and Peace studied (ph.D)
8. School of Vocational Education and Training (SOVET)
  • Vocational Education and Training (PhD)
9. School of Foreign Languages (SOFL)
  • French (PhD)
  • Arabic (PhD)
10. National Centre for Disability Studies (NCDS)
  • Disability Studies (PhD)
11. Staff Training and Research Institute of Distance Education (STRIDE)
  • Distance Education (M.Phil & PhD)
12. School of Translation Studies and Training (SOTST)
  • Translation Studies (M.Phil & PhD)
13. School of Humanities(SOH)
  • English (PhD)
  • Hindi (PhD)
14. School of Computer and Information Sciences (SOCIS)
  • Computer Science (PhD)
15. School of Law (SOL)
  • Law (PhD)
16. School of Engineering & Technology (SOET)
  • Engineering & Technology (PhD)
17. School of Tourism and Hospitality Service Sectoral Management (SOTHSSM)
  • Tourism and Hospitality Service (PhD)
18. School of Social Work (SOSW)
  • Social Work (M.Phil & PhD)
19. School of Journalism and New Media Studies (SOJNMS)
  • Journalism and Mass Communication (PhD)
20. School of Health Sciences (SOHS)
  • Nursing (PhD)
21. School of Extension and Development Studies (SOEDS)
  • Extension and Development Studies (PhD)

Institutes, cells, centres, regional centres, and consortia

Electronic Media Production Center Prof A R Khan
National Centre for Innovations in Distance Education Dr Jyotsana Dikshit
Inter-University Consortium For Technology-Enabled Flexible Education & Development Prof. S K Panda
Staff Training and Research Institute of Distance Education Prof C R K Murthy
National Council for Disability Studies Dr S K Prasad
Horticulture Cell Dr. S.K. Yadav

Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre(ISLRTC)


IGNOU was the first university in India to take initiative to start a Bachelor of Arts degree in sign language in 2009, in collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom.[12] under the U.K.-India Educational Research Initiative (U.K.I.E.R.I.)[13] The programme has a duration of 4 years., where in, the first year constitutes the foundation course, which will culminate in the four-year degree programme in sign language. The Union Budget of 2010-11 allocated a plan outlay of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to Rs.4500 crore., which included assistance for establishing the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre [14] Banking heavily on the Bachelor of Arts degree in sign language, the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) and Social Justice and Empowerment (SJE) ministries involved IGNOU in the establishment of the ISLRTC on its campus in 2011.

Closure of Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre

Fresh admissions has not happened since 2010 .[15] The initial commitment was the students would receive a dual degree from IGNOU and University of Central Lancashire.[13] But, Ignou has backtracked saying the students would have to be content with only a University of Central Lancashire degree.The explanation from Vice-Chancellor M. Aslam is that there is no provision in Ignou Act and statutes to issue a dual degree.In addition to this, it was announced that the ISLRTC would be shut down from the 2013-14 academic year[16]

Accreditation & recognition

IGNOU is granted the authority to confer degrees by Clause 5(1)(iii) of the IGNOU Act 1985. IGNOU is also recognised as a Central University by the University Grants Commission of India (UGC).[17] The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) recognises IGNOU conferred degrees as on par with the degrees conferred by its members[18][19] and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) recognises the Master of Computer Applications and Master of Business Administration program of IGNOU.[20]

In 1993, IGNOU was designated by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) as its first Centre of Excellence for Distance Education empowered "to actively participate in Commonwealth co-operative endeavours to identify, nurture, and strengthen open learning institutions throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in the Third World ..".[21]

IGNOU also operates as an accreditor for open university and distance education systems in India through the Distance Education Council (DEC). Authority to do so is granted under Clause 16 and Statute 28 of the IGNOU Act 1985.[22]

Convocations in the past

Convocation Held On Chief Guest Designation Honoris causa Awarded Number of Degrees/ Diplomas/ Certificates/ Awarded
Ist 21 February 1989 Rajiv Gandhi Prime Minister Dr. Shridath S. Ramphal, Secretary General, COL 1171
IInd 27 April 1991 Dr. S. D. Sharma Vice President SANGRAM 3807
IIIrd 25 April 1992 Arjun Singh Minister for Human Resource Development 4907
IVth 5 May 1993 R. Venkataraman Former President of India G. Ram Reddy, Former VC of IGNOU 4444
Vth 16 April 1994 James A Maraj President of COL James A Maraj, President of COL 7580
VIth 06.05.1995 Madhav Rao Scindia Ministry for Human Resource Development 9246
VIIth 11.05.1996 Justice R.N. Mishra Chairman, National Human Rights Commission 12301
VIIIth 08.03.1997 Madhu Dandavate Deputy chairman, Planning Commission 16149
IXth 07.03.1998 Krishna Kanth Vice President 25080
Xth 14 March 1999 Dr. Karan Singh Member of Parliament Mahasweta Devi, Eminent Writer & Social Worker 33119
XIth 04.03.2000 K. C. Pant Deputy chairman Planning Commission V. C. Kulandaiswamy, Former VC of IGNOU 53328
XIIth 3 March 2001 M. G. K. Menon Eminent Scientist 62369
XIIIth 21 March 2002 Murali Manohar Joshi Minister for Human Resource Development 78074
XIVth 22 February 2003 Sir John Daniel Assistant Director General, UNESCO and Former VC of UKOU
  • Sir John Daniel
  • Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Chairman, ISRO
XVth 21 February 2004 Dr. K. Kasturirangan Former chairman, ISRO and Former Secretary Department of Space, Government of India, Member of Rajya Sabha
  • Field Marshal S. H. F. J. Manekshaw
  • Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa
XVIth 05.03.2005 Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam President of India
  • Kamal Idris, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organisation(WIPO), Geneva
  • Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO
XVIIth 18 February 2006 Dr. Anil Kakodkar Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, Govt. of India
  • N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman, Infosys
XVIIIth 17 March 2007 Justice K. G. Balakrishnan Chief Justice of India
  • M. S. Swaminathan, Renowned Agricultural Scientist
XIXth 16 February 2008 Dr. Hamid Ansari Vice- president, Republic of India
  • C. N. R. Rao
  • Dr. Anil Kakodkar
  • M.S.Valiathan
  • Pandit Shiv Kumar
  • Rahman Rahi
  • Indira Goswami
XXth 28 February 2009 R Natarajan Former chairman AICTE
Former Director IIT Madras
XXIst 15 March 2010 S K Joshi Former Director General CSIR Gen. Deepak Kapoor 135,000
XXVIst 12 April 2013 Shri.Pranab Mukherjee 158,387


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Silver Jubilee celebrations

On the 92nd birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi, IGNOU completed twenty five years of its existence. This event was marked by the inauguration of the year long celebrations by Pratibha Patil at the headquarters of the University. Also present were Kapil Sibal, Minister of Human Resource Development and D Purandareswari, Minister of State, HRD. The inauguration was followed by the 25th Foundation Day Lecture, delivered by Dr. Narendra Jadhav, Member Planning Commission, Government of India.

One of the major activities proposed as part of the Silver Jubilee Year is the organisation of IGNOU Silver Jubilee Lectures, as a monthly event commencing from December 2009. Renowned experts and practitioners from different areas and academic disciplines will be invited to deliver talks, the topics of which broadly fall within the areas of 'inclusion of the excluded' and/or 'education for marginalised'.

Pan Commonwealth Forum 6 : Kochi

India. The theme of PCF6 was: Access and Success in Learning: Global Development Perspectives

PCF6 as an international forum explores the contribution of open and distance learning to international development goals, by opening up access to learning at every level. The Forum brings together practitioners, researchers, planners and policy makers in the fields of open and distance learning and development from over 70 countries. It provides opportunities to share experience and expertise, and to contribute to future policy and provision. Participants will represent the main Commonwealth, Asia and international institutions and agencies active in the field, including funding bodies and technology providers.

The Commonwealth of Learning's biennial Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning has grown to become a leading international forum on learning and development. PCF6 brought the forum to India for the first time, jointly organised by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), coinciding with the completion of 25 years of IGNOU.

Chair Official
Honorary Chair M.S. Swaminathan
Co-Chair Sir John Daniel, president & CEO of The Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, Canada
Co-Chair V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor IGNOU, New Delhi, India
Programme Chair P.R. Ramanujam, Director, Academic Programmes Committee, PCF 6
Conference Manager Himar Arjun Singh, PCF6 Secretariat

Indo-Africa Virtual University

The Indo-Africa Virtual University is a virtual university that has been announced for Africa by the Indira Gandhi National Open University, with headquarters of the virtual university proposed to be in Ethiopia or Kenya, and an initial cost is estimated at INR150 crore ($3.5 million), with an annual cost or INR1 billion. It has been reported that it could take between six months and a year to implement, and would fuel demand in Africa for higher studies in Indian institutions.[23]

See also



External links

  • Indira Gandhi National University – Official website
  • IGNOU Regional Centre, Karnal
  • Indira Gandhi National University Online Community – Un Official website
  • Vedyadhara Open (e) Learning Environment – DEC approved ODTEL framework implementation [A Disruptive Innovation in Open and Distributed Learning]
  • Official IGNOU Wiki
  • IGNOU Help Books/Guide

Template:Universities in the Delhi Template:Open Education in India Coordinates: 28°29′40″N 77°12′16″E / 28.4945°N 77.2045°E / 28.4945; 77.2045

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