They are meant for benefit of people in rural and tribal areas that are out of reach of the educational system.

The Indira Gandhi National Open University’s (IGNOU) Madurai Regional Centre plans to introduce mobile study centres during the ensuing academic year with the aim of taking higher education to the doorstep of rural and tribal populations that are out of reach of the educational system, its Regional Director S. Mohanan said here on Friday.

Addressing the 26th convocation of IGNOU at the national level, and the fifth convocation since the establishment of the Madurai regional centre in 2008, he said that the centre was mulling over the option of appointing ‘Distance

Learning Facilitators’ for publicising the numerous programmes offered by the university and to help the beneficiaries select suitable courses.

The Madurai regional centre served 17 western and southern districts in the State with the assistance of one main study centre in each district and 120 learner support centres spread across the 17 districts. The regional centre had a cumulative strength of 28,750 students and about 544 of them were awarded degrees and diplomas on Friday.

Mr. Mohanan said that the action plan drawn up by the regional centre for 2013-14 included setting up of rural libraries on behalf of IGNOU to enrich the learning experience of people in remote areas and make them employable.

Study centres will also be started at places such as Ramanathapuram to cater to the needs of women belonging to minority communities.

Listing the achievements of the Madurai regional centre, he said that a radio broadcasting centre, that began operations last month, had been airing educational programmes covering a radius of 80 kilometre from Madurai from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every day. The centre was also in the process of educating the inmates of central prisons in Madurai, Tiruchi and Coimbatore, he added.

K. Manimekalai, Vice-Chancellor, Mother Teresa Women’s University, Kodaikanal, delivered the convocation address and handed over the degrees and diplomas to students, including four gold medallists — K. Mohanaranjani, M. Prasad, Lipika Maharana and V. Madasamy.

The convocation proceedings took place simultaneously in all 67 regional centres of the IGNOU in the country after its Vice-Chancellor M. Aslam declared them open through video conferencing at a similar function held in New Delhi in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee and Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Jitin Prasada.

Keywords: IGNOUS. Mohanan

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