IGNOU must rise up to student's problems.
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What is IGNOU
IGNOU was instituted by an Act of Parliament in 1985. The Government was being run by the Congress, and the Education Minister was Late K C Pant.
IGNOU’s Mission and Vision statement ask for taking education to the grassroots people, to their doorsteps. As many remote areas in our country did not, and still do not, have infrastructure, colleges, and, connectivity to the main towns and cities, higher education to young boys and girls have always been a formidable challenge for any government.
Under such a circumstance, IGNOU’s approach to take higher education to the doorsteps of the people has been a Silent Revolution in our country.
The system is Open and Distance Learning (ODL), by which students are to be taught.
Admission pattern has been made Inclusive, and unlike the Exclusive one in the regular face-to-face colleges and universities.
The pattern outlays about 500 regions of India to monitor, guide and administer over Study Centres at areas to include every household in the ambit of Inclusive education delivery.
Contribution to Higher Education
Naturally, the move became popular, and IGNOU started posting huge enrolment figures every year. They are the Disadvantaged Students, who would otherwise never get opportunity for higher education in the predominant system of Exclusive face-to-face education in colleges and universities.
The Disadvantaged Students are those who had to leave out after schooling for non-availability of colleges nearby, housewives with desire to learn and advance their education, drop-out boys and girls from poverty stricken families who are working to sustain families, and those cherubic young boys and girls who could not attain required percentage to get admitted to face-to-face colleges and universities.
Technically, these Disadvantaged Students deserve to be given more intensive care, more attention, quality guidance and full support to help them come up to the standard of the face-to-face college / university students. That alone would create Quality Gross Success Ratio (QGSR) in the higher education of India.
With ODL, IGNOU’s enrolment figures whopped up every year, and during 2008-2010, under Prof. V N Raja Sekharan Pillai’s tenure it hit 4.5 million mark.
Evidently IGNOU contributes huge to building up of the India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education. Sadly the authorities did not institute a QGSR which would have made monitoring of the Study Centres meaningful.
Though IGNOU insists that teaching-learning process at Study Centres should be Academic Counselling because the Study Materials are exhaustive and written in a user-friendly language, easy for students to understand, the fact is, the students are uninitiated and need to be taught like face-to-face college classes.
It is because the study materials seldom meet the latest knowledge evolved. These are generally outdated, unrevised, and average gap between their publication and enrolled students in every cycle is at least 15 years. Except in some new programmes, this gap in knowledge bank yawns every six-month (a cycle).
Academic Counsellors are the most important education disseminators in IGNOU ODL system who fill the knowledge gap between the latest publication of study material and the latest enrolled in a cycle. Indeed they are the backbone in the ODL system.
IGNOU’s highly paid faculty members ensconced in air-conditioned cushy ambience at Maidan Garhi Head Quarters are responsible for updating these study materials, in which they miserably fail years after years.
It is the Academic Counsellors who come to the rescue of the students to update their knowledge, which would help them compete in the job market. They form the backbone of the ODL today, and not the study materials any longer.
But in IGNOU system, the Academic Counsellors are pariahs, relegated to be exploited by the Host Centres like Amar Jyoti. In organisation of the classes, they are never consulted. The classes which are conducted are restricted. Even students’ entry is restricted.
This Silent Constructive Educational Revolution of IGNOU is now being diluted by callous management in the Regional Centres and certain greedy Host Centres of IGNOU Study Centres. Host Centres are institutions which get financial support from IGNOU to run its Study Centres.
Some Host Centres are not happy with what they get from IGNOU for hosting its Study Centres, they also squeeze Academic Counsellors to part with their meagre income to them. If they do not agree to do that, their classes are cut, and false bills are sent to IGNOU Regional Centres for classes which never were conducted.
Not only that, the Academic Counsellors, who are technically appointed by IGNOU, are seldom informed of their emoluments by the Host Centres. There is no fixed day of payments of the emoluments of the Academic Counsellors too. It is arbitrary and deceitful, months after months.
Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust
When these practices continue at Amar Jyoti also, there is a new development in this Host Institution.
All students are not intimated about the conduction of classes. Instead they are made to believe that there are no teaching-learning processes available for them, and they can prepare for their exams from the inaccurate, ill-written, sub-standard guidebooks from Neeraj, Gullibaba etc.
Evidently, these guidebook mafia have made inroads into the Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust, which is enriched by grants, donations from Government agencies in India, and abroad.
Such move has also encouraged mushroom spawning of computer centres in Delhi market to write IGNOU assignments, and cater IGNOU study material diluted by different brisk publishing business doers, who indeed damage these hapless students’ career.
Till recently, at Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust premises, the IGNOU Study Centre had been prospering very fast, making it the first under the Regional Centre-2 (RC-2) in the Capital. With induction of Prof H A Singh, this Study Centre prospered to a standard mostly unseen in any other Study Centre of India, surpassing a student population trebling the population of a face-to-face college in India.
Classes are not conducted earlier than two months after examination in a cycle. The pretext is, the lists of students not received from the RC-2. Now this Study Centre has been shifted under the supervision of the RC-Noida.
The reality is, with two cycles there are always First, Second and Third year students for IGNOU degree programmes, both graduate and post-graduate. Classes can ideally be conducted. Lists are not required.
Another reality is, such classes are charged to IGNOU, though not conducted, through false billing. This is atrocious. Amar Jyoti is a Charitable Trust. It is not supposed to go for profit. It must deliver services to IGNOU students too. Doing profit for Amar Jyoti should be considered a Financial Offence.
1. The Study Materials must be sent within 15 days of enrolment.
2. Timely updation of study material. Most current material are outdated.
3. Classes should be held both on Saturdays and Sundays.
4. Classes must be started right from the next Saturday and Sunday after the examination months (June & December). They should be non-stop on every Saturday and Sunday.
5. Each and every student of all programmes must be intimated about conduction of classes.
6. Entry of students to the Amar Jyoti must not be constrained. They are given IDs by IGNOU.
7. Students must be given back the evaluated assignments before their Term End Examinations.
8. There has to be a Library for students accessible in the Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust IGNOU Study Centre.
For Academic Counsellors
9. Academic Counsellors must be given list of students of the paper s/he is teaching, so that s/he can check and invite students to the classes.
10. The emoluments of the Academic Counsellors must be paid on a fixed date of every month.
11. Special classes should be conducted for weak students.
12. Bring the Study Centres under direct supervision of IGNOU Headquarters for quality monitoring and impart of knowledge.
For General Administration
13. Stop entry of the Guidebook Mafia’s people into the Amar Jyoti IGNOU Study Centre.
14. Treat IGNOU study centres impartially, without partisan attitude, to make the Silent Revolution a grand success creating QGSR.
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