Student enrolment for various courses of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in the Madurai Regional Centre has been very robust this year.

There has been over 10 to 15 per cent increase in admissions in January batch this year when compared to last year while a similar demand is expected in the next cycle of admissions which would take place in coming July.

The Madurai Regional Centre of IGNOU covers 17 districts in southern/western parts of the State and varsity authorities are successful in penetrating into newer areas by opening special study centres in remote areas too.

M. Shanmugham, Regional Director, IGNOU Madurai Regional Centre, told The Hindu on Saturday that there is virtually good demand for all courses offered by the university- be it certificate, diploma, degree or postgraduate programmes particularly MBA and MCA.

“Cumulatively we have 12,000 students on rolls as on date. The January enrolment numbers were very encouraging and steps are being taken to maintain the same momentum,” he said. The B.Ed. programme of the university is one of the star attractions as it always enjoyed great demand.

Dr. Shanmugham has said that the focus of IGNOU which is a national leader in distance education has been on “value-added” courses. The short-term courses are having good response from regular college students.

“For instance, the courses such as six-month Certificate programmes in Business Skills, Entrepreneurship and Information Technology are drawing more enrolments as students see them as add-on employability focused courses. As a result of this, the student enrolment had gone up,” he added.

Stating that IGNOU's resources are being used for employability of students after they completed their courses, the Regional Director said that those in rural areas are benefiting as the study materials for a few programmes including the bachelors preparatory bridge programme have been translated in to Tamil for their convenience.

Another important reason for increased enrolment is that the university is permitting conducting of classes with flexible timings in colleges. “Students can attend the classes in their institution itself. We approve the counsellors, they study our university study materials and examinations are conducted by IGNOU,” Dr.Shanmugham said. New study centres were being added besides opening of ‘special study centres' for disadvantaged sections of students living in remote places. One such centre has been opened at Periyakulam.

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