Indira Gandhi National Open University will work to implement the objectives of the National Skills Mission, said Prof VN Rajasekharan Pillai at the 21st Convocation of the university. Addressing the Chief Guest, Guests of Honour at 43 Regional Centres, a huge gathering of learners across the nation, gold medalists, their family members, IGNOU academics, staff and media persons, Prof Pillai said, ensuring quality and student satisfaction are the hallmark of IGNOU pedagogy today, which will further be honed to excellence. Prof Pillai was speaking at the university's 21st Convocation. In all, 66 gold medals, six special gold medals were among about 6000 certificates in forms of Diplomas and Degrees awarded in the convocation from the Headquarters in Maidan Garhi on 15th March 2010. About 18,000 certificates in forms of Diplomas, Degrees and Certificates were distributed at 43 regional centres. The convocation was telecast live on the Gyan Darshan and broadcast in over 30 Gyan Vani channels. The 43 Regional Centres first joined the Main Convocation at the Headquarters through vedioconferencing and then started their individual Convocations.
Four special awards were given. There were interesting aspects among the students. The Master of Arts in English medal went to for the fourth consecutive time to the Jedda-based PI, Ateico. Its learner Mrs Shahmida Mohammed got it this year. Dhundup Dolma of Nepal earned two gold medals, one for topping the Masters in Social Work and Prof Ram Reddy Memorial Gold Medal for obtaining the highest marks of all masters programmes. Her countryman, Mr Gagan Gurung also got his gold medal for topping the Masters in Rural Development programme. In his Address, Chief Guest Prof SK Joshi stressed 'research, equity, quality and real world of business and industry' as essential requirement for higher education. Over the years by 2020, in India there would be a surplus of over four and a half crore skilled workers, whereas in the advanced world there would shortage of about four crore skilled workers. Indian youths must be able to meet the demand, and for that proper education and training at skill enhancement are required. It is not impossible to meet the demand, as “India had about 54 crore young people below the age of 21 and this number would continue to grow till about 2050,' he said, adding, 'it is a challenge for our higher educational system to train these young people. They need an education of the kind which would equip them with skills demanded for jobs and then has to devise modules of courses which will train them for those skills properly.'