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Updated on 30 Dec, 2019

Strategies to Achieve the Mission

IGNOU has both short-term as well as long-term strategies to achieve its mission and realise its vision. The elements of the action plan to achieve the objectives are:

1. Total Quality Assurance

In 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.

i) IGNOU as an institution

The University is committed to quality and excellence in all its activities — teaching, research, training and extension. The norms for programme evaluation, performance indicators for operation of systems, mechanisms to inject vibrancy in assessment and evaluation, and rewarding merit, have been established. The University shall:

  • Initiate the process of academic audit and engage in a serious exercise to revise its course materials, both print and audio-visual, by incorporating information on the latest developments in all areas of study;
  • Designate the better-performing disciplines, schools, centres and institutes as centres of excellence;
  • Develop an ever-evolving mechanism for continuing professional development for the teaching and support staff;
  • Take education to the unreached and enable them to participate in national development through integrated local development; and
  • Promote spirit of excellence in student support services.
  • Promote the use of ICT in all its operations.

ii) IGNOU as a system leader

It is now well recognised that open learning is the most viable option to make education accessible to all in India. However, it must offer quality education if it is to compete and collaborate with the conventional system. Due to its inherent character, the ODL system lends itself quite naturally to quality assurance and control. The University envisages a proactive role for itself by sharing professional capabilities and resources, to maintain standards of Distance Education in the country. 

2. Increasing Enrollment

For contributing to increasing the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education,  the University has drawn up an innovative strategy, by offering greater flexibility and openness in terms of:

  • Course-wise enrollment so that learners can opt for a capsule of a few relevant courses which suit their requirements;
  • Relaxed entry qualifications, particularly for disadvantaged sections;
  • Encouraging State Open Universities (SOUs), correspondence course institutions (CCIs) and conventional universities in offering IGNOU courses to learners, by translating them in regional languages;
  • Offering short-term courses for updating and upgrading knowledge and skills for the employed — professionals, educators, technologists, administrators and others — to meet the massive demand for trained workforce, in collaboration with respective national councils and controlling bodies;
  • Offering differential fee structure to facilitate entry of the ‘have-nots’, in socially relevant, and professional programmes;
  • Offering post-graduate and research degrees in all disciplines
  • Taking education to low-literacy districts and communities in rural and remote areas;
  • Offering programmes to Special Groups such as Women, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, Transgender Persons, PwDs, Jail Inamates among other minorities; and
  • Using ICT for community intervention and development.

3. Strengthening the Faculty

To provide sustainable access to quality education, an academic institution must have an internationally recognised faculty. In the context of global competition, it would, therefore, be prudent to pay due attention to the professional growth of the faculty by:

  • Attracting the best talent — to enhance productivity, improve quality of courses and provide effective services to learners;
  • Inviting visiting, tenured and adjunct faculty in unconventional interdisciplinary areas at the senior level. This will allow the University to augment its faculty resource base and enhance interaction with other universities and institutions;
  • Enhancing resources to provide support for research;
  • Training the faculty in interactive multimedia and online teaching and learning; and

4. Widening areas of study

To sustain its growth, the University should respond to change and provide relevant, contemporary programmes at all times — a paradigm shift from ‘you learn what we offer’ to ‘we offer what you want to learn'. Therefore, there is a need to widen the basket of courses in diverse areas of contemporary relevance. The University proposes to undertake newer initiatives such as:

  • Addition of disciplines in existing Schools of Study, such as special education, intellectual property rights, telecommunications, e-learning, biotechnology, bio-informatics etc;
  • Striking a balance between niche-market, skill-oriented courses and life-coping courses dictated by the needs of the society;
  • Providing greater flexibility in course offerings, with possibility of lateral entry and exit points in degree programmes, including credit transfers;
  • Offering online education with interactive multimedia support; and
  • Offering specific programmes for in-service professionals to update and upgrade their knowledge and skills;
  • As well as appreciation courses for adult citizens.

5. Research and Scholarship

The ODL system has a short history and, therefore, there is a paucity of relevant research on its various facets. For IGNOU, which intends to be a leader in the ODL system, it is absolutely essential to promote research and scholarship in the area. The University is keen to promote basic and applied research by:

  • Offering research degree programmes in all Schools of Studies, which is expected to generate a vibrant and enabling environment in the University for conducting research;
  • Providing facilities  for independent discipline-based and systemic research;
  • Identifying specific areas for institutional research, encouraging inter-disciplinary research teams, and devising mechanisms thereof;
  • Encouraging discipline-specific systemic research to enhance quality of instructional delivery and learning for students.

6. Reaching the Unreached

The University has been mandated to reach out to the marginalised sections of our society. The efforts so far have been mainly confined to the professional development of the employed. There is a need to initiate special measures to attract learners from the disadvantaged groups. The major steps envisaged to achieve this are:

  • Enhancing access by spreading the network of study centres from the district level to the block level;
  • Networking with SOUs and CCIs and using ICT in a proactive way in difficult terrain and inaccessible regions;
  • Strengthening the University's presence in the North-East, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal, Chhattisgarh, Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region in Orissa, Jaisalmer and Barmer in Rajasthan and other low-literacy regions;
  • Conducting special drives using innovative technologies to enroll marginalised groups (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, PwDs, Women and Transgender learners) in the niche-market programmes;
  • Entering collaborations with national agencies and NGOs to increase the outreach of its programmes; and
  • Instituting special scholarships, stipends and fee waiver schemes with Government and other funding agencies to enable disadvantaged groups to pursue IGNOU programmes. 

7. Effective Student-Support Services

Effective student-support services are an important pre-requisite for:

  • Improving completion rate;
  • Reducing drop-out rate;
  • Providing sustainable, quality education; and
  • Enhancing the credibility of the system.
  • For making the support services effective, the University undertakes the following:
  • Equips all Study Centres and Regional Centres with adequate ICT equipment and other infrastructure to connect them with the Headquarters for prompt data transmission and retrieval, information sharing and redressal of learner difficulties.;
  • Provide an opportunity for greater interaction with learners;
  • Reduce response time in admission, distribution of material and declaration of results;
  • Carry out tracer-studies on learner performance and experiences;
  • Regularly monitor the quality of support services;
  • Forge seamless convergence between open and conventional university systems; Increase use of interactive technology, mediated counselling and induction programmes;
  • Evolve a more efficient database management system;
  • Provide Online admission and Re-Registration; and
  • Further strengthen links with public and private institutions and NGOs engaged in education and training.

8. Strengthening Extension Education

To strengthen extension education, it is important to relate it to teaching, learning and development. As a part of its strategy, the University would like to:

  • Encourage capacity building in agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture, natural-resource management, health, human rights, literacy, life coping skills, legal literacy, vocational skills, entrepreneurship, computer literacy, design, media studies, etc

9. Digitalization of Education

In a diverse country like India, no single technology can be used on all occasions and for all purposes. The choice of technology should take into account availability, accessibility and acceptability. Priorities in the use of technologies for distance education will have to be different in different contexts. The possibilities of outreach and economy of scale are as important considerations for IGNOU as individualised access and interactivity.

Online education has already started influencing education and is destined to impact it in a big way in the future. IGNOU has also launched its online programmes. Web-based methods can supplement the teaching and learning processes for professional, need-based, vocational and other academic programmes. The support activities in other programmes would also be strengthened through centralised expert counselling based on fully interactive networks.

The University periodically upgrades its online resources. These include:

  • Networking (internal) with Regional and Study Centres for quick data transmission, retrieval and flow of other information; and
  • Ready access to online resources for students — walk-in admission and on-demand examination; on-line assignment generation; centralised computerised admission and instant confirmation; computerised and networked databases.
  • The library services would make optimum use of technology by:
  • Creating databases and digitalising content from internal and external resources to facilitate expeditious retrieval and dissemination of information;
  • Developing a special collection of material on distance education and related fields such as education technology, online or web enabled education and learning, etc.;
  • Digitalising full-text materials after obtaining copyright permission; and
  • Utilisation of the full potential of the Internet by facilitating access to a vast array of resources for empowering distance learners.
  • Distance education utilises ‘open media’. Educational inputs provided through broadcast modes are available to a majority of our learners. The University intends to diversify the presence of Gyan Darshan and Gyan Vani in range and content. The availability of extended C-band for TV broadcasting will be upgraded to KU-band in the Direct-to-Home (DTH) and Digital Terrestrial Television mode.

The Centre for Online Programmes will facilitate the offering of online programmes/course by the Schools of Studies of the University. While designing and developing online programmes, the Schools of studies will explore the possibilities of incorporating MOOCs and OERs developed by external institutions. The focus will also be on providing online facilities for app based Lerner support such as Mobile App for Student Services, IGNOU e content App.
The effort is on to make all services for the Distance Learners online –from registration to convocation.