Blending best of regular, distance education

Blending best of regular, distance education

Jyothi Nivas College tops IGNOU centres in implementing convergence scheme effectively

Think distance education, and dodgy reading material, irregular examinations and lonely hours of ploughing through dense grey matter come to mind.

But, this might be a thing of the past as the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has sown seeds of a silent revolution with its ‘convergence scheme’.

IGNOU offers about 30 courses as part of the scheme, which aims to bring together the conventional university system, and the distance education system to optimise utilisation of resources. The scheme makes use of the resources in partner institutions, which are conventional colleges and also provides financial assistance for a period of three years. Shared resources include infrastructure, teachers and all knowledge resources within an existing institution. 

One of its partner institutions, Jyothi Nivas College (JNC) in Bangalore, has emerged as the top centre in the country with over 400 students enrolled into different courses that the scheme offers. The college, which launched the scheme last November has become successful partner institution in the country in terms of admissions. And the scheme has attracted nearly 30,000 students across 180 centres in the rest of the country. Nirmala Vaz, the co-ordinator of the scheme at the Jyothi Nivas College, says, “The credit goes to IGNOU Vice-Chancellor Rajasekharan Pillai. Students who cannot attend college come on Sundays and attend regular classes conducted by full-time college faculty.”

200 new applicants

Meanwhile, IGNOU V-C Rajasekharan Pillai is not surprised with the success of the scheme. “We have had nearly 200 new applications for the post of partner institutions across the country after the success of the scheme. Of course, the JNC centre has been the most successful,” he says. The scheme aimed at improving the gross enrollment ratio for higher education. “The gross enrollment ratio currently stands at 11 per cent in higher education in the 16-23 age group, and we have been given a target of 15 per cent gross enrollment in higher education by 2015 ,” Pillai says.

The scheme enables students pursue a regular degree, thereby giving them the advantage of obtaining two degrees at the same time. Another complementary course, the Bachelor’s Preparatory Programme (BPP) is also a boon to students who have not completed their PUC. The BPP is a six-month intensive training programme, which makes students eligible for a degree even if they have not completed the 10+2.

The most popular courses at the JNC are MBA, MCA and a Diploma course in Nutrition. “The IGNOU was actually planning to discontinue the Diploma in Nutrition, but decided against it because it is a very popular course at our college, and we have 46 students,” Nirmala says. The college has conducted nearly 150 hours of classes for the MBA programme besides 90 hours for programmes such as BCA and MCA. There are nearly 25 full-time teachers, and majority of them belong to the JNC with a few from other colleges also participating in the program.

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