“We are happy that already 30,000 students have enrolled in various partner institutions availing the opportunities created by this scheme,” says Prof. Pillai.

More than 400 institutions and nearly 30 academic partners have now joined hands with the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in its convergence scheme. The objective of the scheme, jointly conceived by University Grants Commission (UGC), IGNOU, Distance Education Council and All India Council for Technical Education, is to enhance the quality and quantity of education delivery, with a thrust on capacity building and strengthening of the conventional university and collegiate education system.

Elaborating on the project, V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor of IGNOU, said that he was delighted that institutions as part of the convergence scheme are contributing to the national goal of ensuring 15 per cent enrolment in the higher education sector by 2015.

“We are happy that already 30,000 students have enrolled in various partner institutions availing the opportunities created by this scheme. This was possible due to strategic adoption of blended education delivery methodology combined with technology,” Prof. Pillai said.

A student can be enrolled for obtaining a regular degree while pursuing another complementary course under this scheme. A student can aim to get two degrees at the same time, as part of this programme.

The Bachelor's Preparatory Programme, another initiative, enables the students who have not been able to get pre-university/senior secondary education to become eligible for applying for bachelor's degree courses. Prof. Pillai said that this is a boon for those who could not complete their schooling or pre-university courses. It is a six-month intensive training programme.

Target age group

The scheme targets the age group 17-25 while other IGNOU courses on offer do not have any upper age limit. It has focused on identifying partners in low-literacy districts and in remote areas including the North East.

Several diploma and certificate programmes of IGNOU, which otherwise were low enrolment programmes, have been chosen by students registered under this scheme making them popular.

New courses

According to the official estimates, the pass percentage of the students enrolled in this scheme is much better. Over 30 new courses are offered under the scheme.

‘Developing synergies'

Prof. Pillai said that the scheme has helped in developing synergies with well-endowed colleges. This has resulted in qualified faculty and state-of-the-art infrastructure being made available to students along with providing additional mentoring on a flexi-time basis, he said.

New technologies

The convergence scheme also takes in to account the need to interface with the conventional system, use innovative technologies and to optimise the access to physical facilities, intellectual and knowledge resources in institutions to achieve its goals.

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