In an online interview,M.Rajesh,Director IGNOU Regional Center,Vatakara, speaks to M.Rajesh CNM News Director about the mission and services of IGNOU.
Tell us about IGNOU’s courses and its relevance during the time of pandemic
Dr Rajesh : IGNOU offers a wide range of programs including traditional and skill enhancement programs. The details are available on the website www.ignou.ac.in. The university also offers the latest Honours graduation programmes which is mostly skill based.
Dr Rajesh RD: 2. IGNOU is the best University for pandemic times. It offers e counselling through Gyan Darshan, Gyan vani(105.4) and conferencing platforms. Further, soft copies of all study materials are available on its digital repository, egyankosh. Admission and exam registration can also be done online. So all learners can pursue their studies from the comfort of their homes.
How can IGNOU overcome the lack of campus feeling among its students?
Dr Rajesh : Normally, IGNOU has face to face counselling sessions on Saturday and Sundays at study centres. IGNOU study centres are located in reputed institutions . At many study centers, WhatsApp groups are also functioning which gives learners a group feeling.
What is the trend in distance learning in Malabar region?
Dr Rajesh : In Malabar region there is a positive trend towards women Education. Most families are focusing on educating their girl child. Further, more and more learners are adopting distance Education as the way forward to pursue their career goals.
Do you find any challenge from Kerala Open University?
Dr Rajesh :Kerala Open University will be a catylist for IGNOU. Since the state does not have a state open University, there will be more acceptance for distance learning in the state. The two universities can work together to increase gross enrollment ratio in the state. The KOU can be a feeder University for IGNOU’s programmes in the long run and vice versa.
What are the innovative and new age programs do you want to introduce?
Dr Rajesh : As a matter of fact, courses from all streams are equally important. For instance, there needs to be an emphasis on humanitarian and social sciences to reduce societal ailments are crimes. So, Social work based programmes are becoming important. Similarly, programmes on AI, VR, coding and computing are of great relevance. Academic programmes based on human psychology need to be emphasised to reduce stress and mental ailments.
IGNOU’s visions on quality education for all
Dr Rajesh : IGNOU emphasises on access with equity and on reaching the unreached. At present 80% of the relevant age groups cannot find entry into higher education. By establishing more than 2700 learner support centres across the country, IGNOU tries to address this issue. Further, we also feel that quality should not be a casualty in this process. So IGNOU gets its study materials and instructional processes designed by the best in the field. By emphasising on the best delivery mechanism, IGNOU reaches out in the best way possible to the learners.
What are the admission policies in IGNOU?
Dr Rajesh : Only in the case of B.Ed IGNOU has a has very strict intake criteria. This is as mandated by the regulating agencies. In other cases, our admission policy is very open and liberal. IGNOU has given a very liberal maximum period for competing its programmes . For eg. 4 years for MA programmes as against 2 years in regular colleges. Similarly, the students can take their exam any where in the country. They can also transfer their study centres in the country and abroad. So our policies are very liberal.
Impact of IGNOU at Vatakara
Dr Rajesh : Since 2011, when IGNOU established its regional centre at Vatakara, it has enhanced access to high quality education in Malabar region in a big way. Every year the intake is increasing substantially. The RC is also giving greater access to the disadvantaged sections of the society by providing fee waivers. Through its initiatives under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan and other socially productive programmes, the university is touching the hearts and minds of the people in a big way. It also has a jail centre at Viyyur central jail where it gives educational opportunities yo inmates free of cost.