BHUBANESWAR: With an objective to enhance number of female candidates in distance education, the regional centre of Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU) in the State has come up with innovative, student-friendly and capacity building measures in the current curriculum. The participation of women in the programmes of IGNOU increased from 45.11 per cent to 51.36 per cent in the past three years, Regional Director Dr Abhilash Nayak said here on Saturday.
Addressing a conference on the occasion of 31st Foundation Day of IGNOU, Nayak said the regional centre at Bhubaneswar has been using SMS services and letters to encourage students from the SC and ST communities to take advantage of facility like fee reimbursement offered by the Central and State Governments.
Five study centres in tribal-dominated areas like Boudh, Nuapatna, Kuchinda and Belpahar have been revived and a new unit has been opened at Dhenkanal. This move has resulted in a surge of SC and ST students participating in IGNOU programmes during 2014-16. The regional centre currently imparts education to 31,280 students across the State, he added.
The Mobile e-Learning Terminal Van introduced by IGNOU has been effectively used for promotional events, induction and village outreach programmes and inspection of examination centres. On the occasion, an exhibition was organised to showcase self-learning materials, promotional literature, achievements of the varsity and new initiatives undertaken to reach out to the students.
The university authorities briefed mediapersons about the establishment of Eastern Council for IGNOU Regional Centres, proposed Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on Sand Art of renowned artist Sudarshan Pattnaik, facilitation of online admission and the new certificate course in Russian language.
The introductory session was followed by a symposium on ‘Open Learning, The Way Ahead’. Director of IIMC Dhenkanal Mrinal Chatterjee, retired Professor of Ravenshaw University Satchidananda Mishra, Prof Bhabesh Chandra Das of OUAT and Prof NK Mishra of KIIT participated.
The panelists focused on the increasing role of information and communication technology (ICT) in open and online learning. The ICT will act as a catalyst in bridging the gap between different categories of learners and facilitate educational empowerment of the masses, the panelists echoed.