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IGNOU to start 100 community colleges
Published on 4 Jul. 2009 12:24 AM IST
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In a unique initiative, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) will start 100 community colleges to educate underprivileged students using the unutilised capacities of educational institutions across the country. The scheme will be launched by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal Saturday and the colleges will commence their courses from the coming academic session, the varsity said Friday. The students who attend these colleges shall acquire associate degrees, which will ensure them a lateral entry to the Bachelor's programme for a formal graduation degrees. "Initially 100 out of 800 applicant colleges have been selected to run the community colleges. Most of them are private institutions," IGNOU Vice Chancellor V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai said. IGNOU's role will be accreditation, quality monitoring and evaluation, certification and course development. Each selected college has an average capital investment of Rs.150 million including land, building, equipment and other facilities. "The institutions have also tied up with local industries, both small and heavy. Ten to 15 teachers will be put on rolls in each college to conduct the classes for the enrolled students," Pillai added. Apart from use of information technology, there will also be personal contact and counselling to develop sound teaching-learning processes. "Migrant population in urban cities and people in villages and small towns will get good opportunities to hone their skills and get certificates which will empower them for better jobs and livelihood," the vice chancellor said adding that the varsity has submitted a proposal to set up a model community college with state-of-the-art facilities in each of the districts in the country. The scheme was recommended by the University Grant Commission (UGC) for utilizing the idle assets of colleges and institutions after their normal work. The Scheme has also been approved by the Planning Commission and National Knowledge Commission (NKC). "IGNOU's mission is of taking quality education to the doorsteps of people, building up capacities through job-oriented training and education and empowerment through certification," a varsity statement said. The purpose of the community colleges is to provide skill-based livelihood enhancing education and eligibility for employment to the disadvantaged and under privileged like urban poor, rural poor, tribal poor and women. IGNOU is the world's largest Open University that has over 300 courses catering to over two million students in India and abroad through distance education.

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