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India striving for 30 per cent gross enrolment ratio by 2020 : Sibal

Staff Reporter
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“Congratulations”: IGNOU V-C V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai (right) and former V-C P. T. Manoharan presenting the degree to one of the candidates during the 22nd Convocation of the university in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: S. Subramanium
“Congratulations”: IGNOU V-C V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai (right) and former V-C P. T. Manoharan presenting the degree to one of the candidates during the 22nd Convocation of the university in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: S. Subramanium

There is a need to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education which is currently at 13 per cent, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said at the 22 {+n} {+d} Indira Gandhi National Open University convocation here on Saturday.

Mr. Sibal, who delivered the convocation address through the teleconference mode, spoke about the need to raise the GER to the “global average by 2020, which by then will be around 30 per cent. It will mean that the enrolment should expand to 40-45 million from the mere 13 million today”.

The answer for groups which do not have traditional access to higher education lies in distance education “which is becoming increasingly popular as economic forces encourage and new technologies facilitate its spread. We are thus targeting an enrolment of at least seven million students, with a majority from the disadvantaged sections and locations, during the next five years,” he added.

Commenting on the role of Information and Communication Technology in distance education, both in terms of capabilities and cost, Mr. Sibal said: “Distance education requires use of technology. We need to invest much more in these technologies and develop new teaching methodologies which will enable us to access complex educational resources for enhancing excellence in the field of distance education.”

Highlighting the efforts made by the University to improve the GER, Vice-Chancellor Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai said over 100 districts were identified with a GER between 3.0 and 7.0 where IGNOU could tap prospective learners in the age group of 18-23 years.

According to Prof. Pillai, IGNOU has a key role in creating 500 million certified technicians and skilled workers by 2020. At the convocation, 78 students were felicitated with gold medals. As many as 44,926 Bachelor's degrees, 20,775 Master's degrees, 59,042 diplomas, 90,618 certificates and three Ph.D.s were also distributed.

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