Higher Education

Create knowledge systems not learning systems: Prof Ved Prakash, Chairman, UGC

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The Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU’s) Staff Training and Research Institute of Distance Education (STRIDE) concluded its 21 days Refresher Programme in Distance Education at the university headquarters in the capital. Prof Ved Prakash, Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) delivered the valedictory address.

Prof Prakash in his address expressed that most of the institutions fall in the category of learning systems and not knowledge systems. Harping upon the need to create new knowledge he felt that research and teaching are two distinct activities today and are rarely used together.

Feeling the need to redefine the educational needs he said that it is only the mechanism which separates distance and conventional education. However, if we want to transit from developing to developed nations then the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) must be increased.

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He brought forward the present educational scenario in the country wherein 20 million learners are pursuing education through conventional system and 4.6 million through distance mode. According to him, IGNOU shares 90% of the figure. “We would like to increase the enrolment from 20 to 30 million in conventional system and 4.6 million to 6.6 million in distance mode of education. It is only then we can say that we have arrived at 30% GER,” he emphatically added.

Realizing that GER is just one of the parameters he said that we have to induct these 36.6 million students to their streams by creating opportunities in cognizance with the accelerated change.

Prof. M. Aslam, Vice Chancellor, IGNOU, in his presidential address brought forward the need to overcome the barriers that have been created between the conventional and distance education system which are in fact complementary to each other. He also announced that the university shall soon be establishing its study center in Zambian Open University for three MBA programmes.

Dr. Leena Singh, one of the participants felt that such kind of training programmes should be made mandatory for all distance educators. “It was not a refreshing exercise but an experience. Whole gamut of topics like mobile learning, online learning multimedia applications etc. were covered with a good interactive session. We learn how to make audio and video programmes for distance learners. Now we can develop our own DVDs with educational content,” she eagerly shared her experience.

Prof C R K Murthy, programme coordinator, IGNOU presented a brief history and report of the programme. Prof. Basanti Pradhan, Director, STRIDE, IGNOU, Prof. Santosh Panda, Professor of Distance Education, STRIDE, IGNOU and Dr. R. Satyanarayana, Programme Coordinator were also present during the valedictory session.

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