‘ It can draw teachers from anywhere and not stay bound by a single pool of teachers '

The role of an open university is vital in India where people from socially and economically weaker sections are often compelled to drop out of formal educational institutions, writer U.R. Ananthamurthy has said.

Speaking at the 24th convocation of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) here on Monday, Dr. Ananthamurthy said that the concept of an open university in India could be traced back to Ekalavya in the Mahabharata, a young man from the hunter community who taught himself archery, treating the clay image of Dronacharya as the symbolic guru. He said IGNOU opened up new opportunities for large sections of people — such as women with familial compulsions and poor Dalits who had social and financial constraints — who would otherwise stagnate intellectually. “Education in essence means continuous education,” he said.

An open university, Dr. Ananthamurthy added, allowed people to learn at their own pace.

The biggest strength of an open university, he said, was that it could draw teachers from anywhere and not stay bound by a single pool of teachers like in a regular university. This decentralised system, Dr. Ananthamurthy said, was worth emulating with a cluster of colleges sharing a faculty. The convocation saw 2,535 students passing out. Anubha Jha received the gold medal for diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education, while Parul Chauhan received the gold medal for postgraduate diploma in Legal Process Outsourcing.

Centres

IGNOU Regional Director M.S. Parthasarathy said that the newly created Bijapur Regional Centre would cater to seven northern districts, and more learner support centres would be opened in these districts. He said the Bangalore centre had developed a B. Tech in Aircraft Technology and Maintenance, which would be on offer soon.

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