Indira Gandhi National Open University

Coordinates: 28°29′40″N 77°12′16″E / 28.4945°N 77.2045°E / 28.4945; 77.2045
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Indira Gandhi National Open University
Logo of IGNOU
MottoThe People's University
TypePublic university
Established1985; 39 years ago (1985)
FounderGovernment of India
Academic affiliations
ChancellorPresident of India
Vice-ChancellorNageshwar Rao[1]
StudentsCumulative enrolment of nearly 4.3 million[2][3]
Maidan Garhi
, ,
Regional centres67
ColoursDeep Sky Blue

Indira Gandhi National Open University, known as IGNOU, is a public distance learning university located in New Delhi, India. Named after the former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, the university was established in 1985 with a budget of 20 million, after the Parliament of India passed the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985 (IGNOU Act 1985).[4] IGNOU is run by the central government of India, and with a total active enrollment of over 4 million students, it is the largest university in the world.[5][6]

IGNOU was founded to serve the Indian population by means of distance and open education, providing quality higher education opportunities to all segments of society. It also aims to encourage, coordinate and set standards for distance and open education in India, and to strengthen the human resources of India through education.[7][8] Apart from teaching and research, extension and training form the mainstay of its academic activities. It also acts as a national resource center, and serves to promote and maintain standards of distance education in India.[8] IGNOU hosts the Secretariats of the SAARC Consortium on Open and Distance Learning (SACODiL) and the Global Mega Universities Network (GMUNET), initially supported by UNESCO.

IGNOU has started a decentralisation process[9] by setting up five zones: north, south, east, west and north-east. The first of the regional headquarters, catering to four southern states, Pondicherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep, is being set up on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.[citation needed] The Ministry of Education has entrusted the responsibility of developing a Draft Policy on Open and Distance Learning and Online Courses to IGNOU.[10] IGNOU also partners up with other organizations to launch courses. IGNOU offers a BBA in Retail distance learning course in association with Retailers Association of India (RAI).[11]

Recently, the university has implemented the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) method to the various bachelor's degree courses including BA, BAVTM, BCOM, BSC, and others. As per the new CBCS system, the examination will be conducted through the semester system that was earlier conducted on an annual mode.


Dipanshu Sharma, the Ministry of Education and Social Welfare organized a seminar on 'Open University' in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the UGC, and the Indian National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO. After the seminar recommendation, an open university in India has established on an experimental basis. Starting in 1974, the government of India appointed an eight-member working group on the open university, the leading role was given to G. Parthasarathi, the then Vice-Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The working group recommended establishing an open university by an act of parliament as early as possible. They recommended that the university should have jurisdiction over the entire country so that, once it is fully developed, any student even in the remotest corner of the country can have access to its instruction and degrees (Working Group Report, 1974).

The working group suggested several measures to be followed in instructional and management processes of the open university which included: admission procedure, age relaxation, preparation of reading materials, setting up of core group scholars in different fields, setting up of study centers, the vehicle of curricular programs, live contact with teachers and so on. On the basis of the recommendations of the working group, the Union Government prepared a draft bill for the establishment of a National Open University, but due to some reasons, the progress was delayed.

Vice Chancellors
The front gate of the university campus in New Delhi

In 1985, the Union Government made a policy statement for the establishment of a national open university. A Committee was constituted by the Ministry of Education to chalk out the plan of action for the National Open University. On the basis of the report of the Committee, the Union Government introduced a bill in Parliament. In August 1985, both the Houses of Parliament passed the bill. Subsequently, the Indira Gandhi National Open University came into existence on 20 September 1985, named after the late prime minister.

In 1989, the first Convocation was held and more than 1,000 students graduated and were awarded their diplomas. IGNOU audio-video courses were the first broadcast by radio and television in 1990 and IGNOU awarded degrees received full recognition by the University Grants Commission in 1992 as being equivalent to those of other universities in the country.[12]

In 1999, IGNOU launched the first virtual campus in India,[13] beginning with the delivery of Computer and Information Sciences courses via the Internet.

As of 2011 IGNOU has served over three million students in India and 40 other countries abroad.[14] These are UAE, UK, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Mauritius, Maldives, Ethiopia, Namibia, Kenya, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Fiji, France, Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Madagascar, Liberia, West Indies, Samoa, Lesotho, Malawi, Switzerland, Nigeria, Mongolia, and Zambia.


The IGNOU offers education in undergraduate degree in different "Modern Indian Languages" (MILs): Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Meitei (Manipuri), and Nepali.[15]


IGNOU has 21 schools and a network of 56[16] regional centres, 1843 study centres, and 21 overseas centres (in 15 countries). Approximately 20% of all students enrolled in higher education in India are enrolled with IGNOU.[17] IGNOU offers 226 academic programs comprising courses at certificate, diploma, and degree levels.

Accreditation & recognition[edit]

(IGNOU) has been granted the authority to confer degrees by Clause 5(1)(iii) of the IGNOU Act 1985. IGNOU is also recognised as a Central University by the University Grants Commission of India (UGC).[18] The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) recognises IGNOU conferred degrees as on par with the degrees conferred by its members[19][20] and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) recognises the Master of Computer Applications and Master of Business Administration program of IGNOU.[21]

In 1993, IGNOU was designated by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) as its first Centre of Excellence for Distance Education empowered "to actively participate in Commonwealth co-operative endeavors to identify, nurture, and strengthen open learning institutions throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in the Third World ..".[22]

IGNOU also operates as an accreditor for open university and distance education systems in India through the Distance Education Council (DEC). Authority to do so is granted under Clause 16 and Statute 28 of the IGNOU Act 1985.[23]

IGNOU is accredited by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) with the highest grade of A++.[24]

Convocations in the past[edit]

Convocation Held On Chief Guest Designation Honoris causa Awarded Number of Degrees/ Diplomas/ Certificates/ Awarded
Ist 21 February 1989 Rajiv Gandhi Prime Minister Dr. Shridath S. Ramphal, Secretary-General, COL 1171
IInd 27 April 1991 Dr. S. D. Sharma Vice President SANGRAM 3807
IIIrd 25 April 1992 Arjun Singh Minister for Human Resource Development 4907
IVth 5 May 1993 R. Venkataraman President of India G. Ram Reddy, Former VC of IGNOU 4444
Vth 16 April 1994 James A Maraj President of COL James A Maraj, President of COL 7580
VIth 06.05.1995 Madhav Rao Scindia Ministry for Human Resource Development 9246
VIIth 11.05.1996 Justice R.N. Mishra Chairman, National Human Rights Commission 12301
VIIIth 08.03.1997 Madhu Dandavate Deputy chairman, Planning Commission 16149
IXth 07.03.1998 Krishna Kanth Vice President 25080
Xth 14 March 1999 Dr. Karan Singh Member of Parliament Mahasweta Devi, Eminent Writer & Social Worker 33119
XIth 04.03.2000 K. C. Pant Deputy chairman Planning Commission V. C. Kulandaiswamy, Former VC of IGNOU 53328
XIIth 3 March 2001 M. G. K. Menon Eminent Scientist 62369
XIIIth 21 March 2002 Murali Manohar Joshi Minister for Human Resource Development 78074
XIVth 22 February 2003 Sir John Daniel Assistant Director-General, UNESCO and Former VC of UKOU
  • Sir John Daniel
  • Dr. K. Kasturirangan, Chairman, ISRO
XVth 21 February 2004 Dr. K. Kasturirangan Former chairman, ISRO and Former Secretary Department of Space, Government of India, Member of Rajya Sabha
  • Field Marshal S. H. F. J. Manekshaw
  • Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa
XVIth 05.03.2005 Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam President of India
  • Kamal Idris, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organisation(WIPO), Geneva
  • Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO
XVIIth 18 February 2006 Dr. Anil Kakodkar Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, Govt. of India
  • N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman, Infosys
XVIIIth 17 March 2007 Justice K. G. Balakrishnan Chief Justice of India
  • M. S. Swaminathan, Renowned Agricultural Scientist
XIXth 16 February 2008 Dr. Hamid Ansari Vice- president, Republic of India
  • C. N. R. Rao
  • Dr. Anil Kakodkar
  • M.S. Valiathan
  • Pandit Shiv Kumar
  • Rahman Rahi
  • Indira Goswami
XXth 28 February 2009 R Natarajan Former chairman AICTE
Former Director IIT Madras
XXIst 15 March 2010 S K Joshi Former Director-General CSIR Gen. Deepak Kapoor 135,000
XXVIst 12 April 2013 Shri.Pranab Mukherjee

13th President of India (2012–2017)

XXVIIst 16 April 2014 Shri.Ashok Thakur

Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development

XXXIIIth 17 February 2020 Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' Union HRD Minister[25] more than 200,000

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "IGNOU appoints Nageshwar Rao as new VC". The Indian Express. 26 July 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  2. ^ "Profile of IGNOU - Preamble". Indira Gandhi National Open University. Archived from the original on 27 June 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  3. ^ Gohain, Manash Pratim (14 October 2019). "In 9 yrs, number of SC students at Ignou rose by 248%, STs by 172%". The Times of India. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Indira Gandhi National Open University, 1985" (PDF). Government of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  5. ^ Creating Accessible Online Instruction Using Universal Design Principles: A LITA Guide, p. 103, Brady Lund, Rowman & Littlefield.
  6. ^ "Constant learning through distance education". Deccan Herald. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  7. ^ IGNOU Website: Objectives Archived 23 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine (URL last accessed on 29 April 2007)
  8. ^ a b "About IGNOU". Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  9. ^ CORRESPONDENT, A. SPECIAL (14 July 2011). "Success story". Frontline. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  10. ^ "IGNOU - Announcements - Latest - New Education Policy: Survey on Open and Distance Learning and Online Courses". Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Retail through distance mode". The Times of India.
  12. ^ IGNOU Website: Milestones Archived 23 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine (URL last accessed on 29 April 2007)
  13. ^ Newsbytes: IGNOU Launches First Virtual University in India, 6 July 1999 (URL last accessed on 29 April 2007)
  14. ^ "Profile of IGNOU – Preamble". Archived from the original on 16 December 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  15. ^ ANI (16 February 2023). "Kashmiri language introduced by IGNOU at under graduate level". ThePrint. Retrieved 19 March 2023. In addition to these disciplines, the School has an elective basket of Modern Indian Languages on offer to undergraduates: Malayalam, Marathi, Odiya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Manipuri and, Nepali.
  16. ^ RC:
  17. ^ IGNOU Website: – IGNOU
  18. ^ UGC Website: Universities Directory – Indira Gandhi National Open University (URL last accessed on 29 April 2007)
  19. ^ UGC: UGC Circular No. F1-52/2000 (CPP-II), 5 May 2004
  20. ^ AIU: AIU Circular No. EV/B(449)/94/176915-177115,January 14, 1994
  21. ^ AICTE: AICTE/Academic/MOU-DEC/2005, May 13, 2005 Archived 27 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ COL Website: IGNOU named "Centre of Excellence" Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, COMLEARN, October 1993 (URL last accessed on 29 April 2007)
  23. ^ DEC Website: Statutory Authority Archived 3 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ NAAC Website:
  25. ^ "IGNOU's 33rd Convocation Today". Retrieved 27 October 2022.

External links[edit]

28°29′40″N 77°12′16″E / 28.4945°N 77.2045°E / 28.4945; 77.2045