The Ministry of Human Resource Development’s plans of allowing foreign education providers to enter India have found support from the Vice Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) who says if foreign universities offer the same facilities and atmosphere to students here, the brain drain will be curbed. In a chat with KIRTIKA SUNEJA, Professor V N Rajasekharan Pillai spoke about the challenges in higher education especially distance learning. Edited excerpts:
The HRD Ministry has suggested formulating a new policy for distance education in its 100-day agenda. How do you see this in IGNOU’s context?
The feeling is usually that an open university is only for distance learning but actually it is open and distance learning (ODL) which means flexible way of education delivery. This comprises flexible admission policies, exam pattern, etc according to students’ requirements. In fact, distance learning can be successful if institutes beyond the formal conventional education, under different ministries, partner with universities like us. Then their infrastructural and intellectual capabilities can be utilised. For instance, we have collaborated with the Institute of Rail Transport (IRT) to develop a gross framework of training and academic collaboration in rail transport management. This is a well thought of strategy at IGNOU to identify credible institutes and work with them.
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