New Delhi's Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the world's largest university, help change life of Francis Mbangwa, a Kenyan farmer in his late 20s. Presently, Francis is a marketing manager in a leading corporate firm in Kenya. The turnaround happened when Francis decided to pursue his bachelor's degree from IGNOU. In 2008, IGNOU signed an agreement with Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) to begin its tele-education programme.
Now, it has been able to reach students in Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Somalia, Rwanda, Senegal, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Benin and Botswana. The project is funded by the Indian government with a budgeted cost of INR 5.43 billion ($117 million). Apart from tele-education, the joint initiative covers 53 member states in African Union, supporting tele-medicine, e-commerce, e-governance, infotainment, resource-mapping and meteorological services. IGNOU has over 2.8 million students and offers 138 courses, most of them long distance. It runs nearly 3,000 study centres and also has 60 overseas centres. The programmes under this network are vocational as well as academic, including masters in business administration, human resources, marketing, tourism management and environment studies and various other professional degrees.