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Updated on 03 Aug, 2019


The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was established by an Act of Parliament in 1985, has emerged as a world leader in the field of open and distance learning.

It has kept pace in adapting itself to fast developments with time and was conferred the honour of ‘Centre of Excellence in Distance Education’ in 1993 by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). The honour of “Award of Excellence of Distance Education Materials” was conferred on IGNOU by COL in 1999. UNESCO declared IGNOU as the largest institution of higher learning in the world in 2010.

Like the proverbial Prometheus, the acronym IGNOU has stirred the imagination of millions and given them hope to translate their dreams into reality. IGNOU has been given the responsibility of widening equitable access to high quality education at an affordable cost to all, with particular emphasis on the disadvantaged and unreached hitherto, offering innovative and need-based programmes at different levels using contemporary tools and techniques and promoting, coordinating and regulating the standard of higher education offered through distance learning systems in the country.

The Headquarters of the University is located in New Delhi. Teaching, research, training and extension are the important academic activities of the University. The University began by offering two academic programmes in 1987, i.e., Diploma in Management and Diploma in Distance Education, with strength of 4,528 students and IGNOU in a span of 33 years has become a pioneer for open and distance learning in the country. It meets the educational demands of over three million students in India and 13 other countries through a network of 67 Regional Centres, more than 3100 learner support centres, 21 Overseas Study Centres and plans to expand outreach to South Asian, Middle East and African nations. The University offers about 227 academic programmes with strength of nearly 500 Teachers and academics at the Headquarters and Regional Centres and about 62,000 academic counsellors from conventional professional organizations and industry among others.

Over the years, IGNOU has lived up to the country’s expectations of providing education to the marginalized sections of society. Free of cost education is being provided to all jail inmates across the country. A large number of SC/ST students have also been admitted to various programmes of the University.

On the context of quality of education offered by the ODL institutions, IGNOU has approached the task at two levels: i) as an institution and ii) as a system-leader. Emphasis is now being laid on developing interactive multimedia and online learning and adding value to the traditional distance education delivery mode with modern technology-enabled education within the framework of blended learning.

It has given due emphasis to women, minority communities, socially and economically disadvantaged groups, the northeast region and other low literacy levels in the country.