Dr. K R Prasad, November 2010
An award has been instituted by IGNOU to celebrate the success of 100 achievers who instituted the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) System. PCF 6 conference, which was jointly organized by IGNOU and Commonwealth of Learning (COL), focused on the theme of “Access and Success in Leaning: Global Development Perspective”.
71 countries participated to explore the ODL applications in widening educational access, bridging the digital divide and advancing social and economical development of communities and nation. ODL experience was showcased by IGNOU and other acclaimed institutions to demonstrate its stake in expanding the human resource base which would have a positive influence on the nation’s growth.
IGNOU in its Silver Jubilee year has set new standards in democratizing higher education and reaching those who have no access to conventional education. The university has achieved significant milestones by reaching out to people in marginalized sections of the society and remote areas.
Uniqueness, user‐friendliness and ease of knowledge development of ODL system have played pivotal roles in the tremendous growth in facilitating today’s emerging knowledge society.
Distance learning has been growing vastly with almost half of the students opting for it. Emphasis on education for sustainable development, quality knowledge and skills learning and diversification, have been the ultimate objectives of “Wake of the Millennium Development”.
The Program Chair of PCF6, on the recommendations of Honorable Vice Chancellor of IGNOU, had constituted a sub‐committee for identifying 100 ODL Achievers. The terms of reference for the sub‐committee lies in the mandate of identifying ODL Achievers across the open and distance learning institutes and universities in India and abroad.
ODL Achievers have been identified as belonging to the following categories:
People with little or no formal qualification who took ODL and achieved success in terms of better job opportunities/social status/higher self esteem/sense of fulfillment;
Women who achieved success through ODL;
Geographically disadvantaged people who did not have access to higher education nearby but took advantage of ODL and achieved success in terms of better job opportunities/social status/higher self‐ esteem/sense of fulfillment;
Differently‐able persons who achieved success through ODL;
Old/ aged people who fulfilled their desire of intellectual enrichment by acquiring higher qualification through ODL.
100 names with diverse academic interests were selected among the 250 shortlisted by the sub‐committee. Some of the prominent ones are listed below:
- T.N. Ramanathan, IAS, Secretary of Backward Classes, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, pursued Bachelors and Masters of Commerce through Distance Learning.
- Charles J Kithu, Director of Finance, Spice Board, Cochin, pursued Management Degree from IGNOU.
- Hari Singh and Vikas Ahuja, HIV victims, associated with Delhi Network of Positive People and successful in spreading positive influences to other victims, completed Diploma in AIDS and Family Education (DAFE) from IGNOU.
- Gandkota Laya, Telugu Heroine, pursued Masters in Computer Applications through ODL.
- Ravula Chandra Sekhar Reddy, former MP, Andhra Pradesh, pursued Masters of Arts and Rural Development (MARD) through ODL.
- Rohini Sharma, hailing from a remote village in Punjab, pursued MCA through ODL.
- Rupa Rai Chowdhuri, specially assisted (severely disabled), completed Mathematics with Applications in Computer Sciences (MACS).
ODL candidates from India and other parts of the world are not only inspiring others to pursue their success path but are also being preferred for superior employment opportunities across the globe which would in turn assist in enhancing the economic development of their countries of origin.