Friday, October 31, 2014

MHRD to review Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has decided to review Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) following growing allegations of administrative mismanagement and other issues.

According to ministry sources, it has asked vice-chancellor of Central University of Gujarat Syed Bari to look into the wide range of allegations against the Ignou administration and its vice chancellor Mohammad Aslam.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee in its report has also taken a very critical view of the functioning of the university. When contacted, Aslam said that he has no information about the development and that he has not received any intimation from the ministry.

IGNOU has been in news off late for the wrong reasons. Nearly 300,000 personnel of the armed forces were left in the lurch after it suspended the Community College Scheme under which the soldiers earned certificates and diplomas in various courses.

Prior to that, just after the success of Mars mission by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), IGNOU has decided to discontinue the ISRO Chair that undertook research in related fields citing lack of funds. The university also decided to discontinue other chairs including CV Raman Chair for science education, Mother Teresa Chair for social work, UNESCO Chair in technology and e-governance and the Vishveswarya Chair for work in education linkages.

Thousands of people across all age groups, many of whom have no access to formal education, have been left "teacherless" from October 1 after the All India Radio has taken off air all 37 Gyanvani educational FM Radio stations the teaching tool of IGNOU after the varsity allegedly failed to clear the outstanding dues. This sent shockwaves among those pursuing education through non-formal channels.

Aslam said that these chair were discontinued due to lack of sponsors. TOI in August reported how the three chairs set up at IGNOU to commemorate 150 years of the revolt of 1857 are lying vacant despite the culture ministry having released the funds. The chairs are in the names of last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, INA veteran Shahnawaz Khan and Kartar Singh Sarabha of Ghadar Party. The culture ministry allocated Rs. 20 million for Bahadur Shah Zafar chair in 2008 and Rs. 40 million for Shahnawaz Khan and Sarabha chairs in 2010.

Sources said norms for appointment were approved in 2011-12 by the IGNOU board of management and in January 2013, the chairs were transferred to be run by Indira Gandhi Centre for Freedom Struggle Studies under the School of Social Sciences in JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University). Selections were also made in February 2013. But after Aslam took over as vice-chancellor in March 2013, the appointments were not cleared.

Source: The Times of India, October 31, 2014

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