Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is in the process of creating a national pool of quality study materials in the form of e-gyan-kosh, a digital repository. The materials, which would be of immense use to students of State Open Universities, could be downloaded from the university website.The repository is expected to enhance the quality of programmes offered by IGNOU in a post-GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) scenario. Currently, IGNOU has enrolled students from as many as 35 countries, including China, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Middle-East countries, African countries and Central-Asian countries.
Among the important new courses introduced this year is a four-year B.Sc. Hons. Degree Ophthalmic Technician course. Diploma programmes in teaching are being offered for primary teachers in Bihar and Chattisgarh, with which IGNOU has signed MoUs, said S.C. Garg, Acting Vice-Chancellor, IGNOU.Besides obtaining the approval of the Distance Education Council, IGNOU has involved the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) to produce study materials for M.A. and M.Ed. programmes in Education, meant to be offered from January 2007. State Open Universities can directly offer these courses, Prof. Garg said, in an interaction with mediapersons recently. IGNOU will also launch a six-month course in Distribution Management on October 2, 2006, as per a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with the Union Ministry of Power. IGNOU designed the course specifically for employees of State Electricity Boards in deference to a request made by the Ministry, to cut down distribution losses. Prof. Garg said IGNOU was among the leading institutions in India, which would have links with 53 African nations and play a participatory role in their development through Tele-Education and Tele-Medicine programmes. The programmes will be launched in Ethiopia during October. President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam announced India's assistance during his visit to the African Continent two years ago.