In an effort to serve and fulfill the dreams of our Late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi along with that of many aspiring learners who are unable to access higher education, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), yesterday completed 25 years of its existence. Celebrating the Silver Jubilee in memory of her birth anniversary yesterday, President, Pratibha Devsingh Patil at the inauguration ceremony in the Convention Centre at IGNOU delivered a speech upon emphasizing the importance of education.Following the vision of Indira Gandhi, IGNOU has grown extensively in the 25 years of its existence. It has over 15 % of all learners enrolled in higher education in the country and offers a wide range of programmes and courses through its vast network of learning centres across the country. Enumerating the importance of its Regional Centres, the President said that it could play a very important role in reducing disparities in education by extending education opportunities in villages and remote areas.
Bringing together the strengths of face-to-face conventional education and the flexibility of open and distance learning IGNOU has recently started a 'convergence scheme' upon which the President congratulated the university. While broad basing access to education is important, one must not lose sight of the utmost importance which should be paid to the quality of education being given to students and the need for equity, she felt. Distance education offers an opportunity to those already in employment to upgrade their knowledge base, so that they can more effectively contribute to the productivity of work in their organizations. Studying, while in employment, also offers opportunities for enhancement of career opportunities. IGNOU and the Indian Army have decided to work together to create a process of certification of higher education of soldiers. Launching the 'Flexi Learn Platform' yesterday at the function she marked it as a significant step to provide an opportunity for prospective learners to sample a course before enrolling and thereby, help them in choosing appropriate courses and programmes. From this year onwards, the University has instituted the Rajiv Gandhi International Prize for Technology in Education and Development. The Prize would be given to an individual or an institution that has made significant contributions to educational technology for development in the developing world.