The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is planning to start 500 community colleges, which aims at skill based education for under privileged, by 2011. IGNOU vice chancellor Professor V.N.Rajasekharan Pillai said IGNOU has so far received 890 applications, of which 100 have been selected. Inaugurating Royal community college dealing in hotel management run by Thanchankary Foundation, he said IGNOU intends to start one community college in every panchayath in the long term. Community colleges will empower the local population with skills needed for the industry that has potential in the particular region. IGNOU provides the framework, guidelines and training facilities for starting the college. The corporates or other oprganisations will have to bring in the necessary funds, said Pillai.
After tenth standard, students can enroll in the community college and get an associate degree with which they can gain lateral entry to a degree programme of a university. Thanchankary Foundation is starting community college in Kochi and Munnar, where it has a catering college offering degree and PG courses. IGNOU has received around 20 applications community colleges from Kerala. Pillai said IGNOU is negotiating with various universities for admitting students holding associate degree. He added that Tamil Nadu Open University has agreed to admit students with associate degrees.