Monday, August 13, 2012

Fall in applicant numbers after IGNOU slashes courses

Troubled times for Indira Gandhi National Open University (I)GNOU are far from over. With just a day left for this year's admissions to close, the number of applicants this year has drastically come down in comparison to last year— by as much as 50% so far.

Moreover, with the withdrawal of schemes like convergence, community colleges, BEd course and face to face programmes, the admissions are on hold affecting thousand of aspirants. To make matters worse, the Board of Management (BOM) of the university in its meeting on July 28 resolved to pass on the control of the Distance Education Council (DEC) to the University Grants Commission (UGC) as an interim measure.

Despite admissions being open till August 14 where students can apply paying a late fee, Ignou officials believe that July 2012 admission figures will significantly fall short of the 250,000 mark of July 2011 admission.

Meanwhile, admissions in the 500-odd colleges under the convergence scheme and 300 colleges under the community colleges are also on hold resulting in the loss of 25,000 to 30,000 new students. The admission across 26 courses under face to face mode and BEd are also on hold resulting in the university losing out on affecting approximately 13,000 new students. A BOM meeting in ay 2012 decided to close down all these schemes.

Former head of the convergence and community college schemes, Ignou, Dr R Sudarshan said: "The schemes have been discontinued without following procedures and has affected large number of students. In fact, the BOM was misled by the then acting vice chancellor. The larger picture is that Ignou has been mandated to make education accessible to far flung areas and by closing down such schemes, we are acting against the mandate itself."

Agreeing that admissions have been slow so far, newly appointed acting vice chancellor, Prof Gopinath Pradhan said that the university is waiting for the report of the committee that was set up to look into the decisions of closing the schemes. "The university will only be able to take further action after receiving the report," said Pradhan.

Source: The Times of India, August 13, 2012

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