New Delhi: The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), one of the largest distance learning universities in India with over 28 lakh students, is considering giving them the option of taking examinations online.
The varsity, which adopted the online admission process from this year, is in talks with the HRD ministry and University Grants Commission (UGC) regarding the proposal.
"We are actively considering offering the examination online to make the process smooth and easy for students. Government is also examining the proposal and the modalities are being worked out. We are in talks with HRD ministry and UGC regarding the same," IGNOU Vice Chancellor Nageshwar Rao told PTI.
"We started online admissions this year and got a massive response. At present we have the entire process in online mode including the registration, issuing of admit cards, schedule updation but the examination is still conducted in the traditional paper mode where students have to go to their respective study centres," he added.
The task, however, is going to be challenging for the university considering the large number of students , who are spread across the country.
"When we look at the distance learning system in other countries of the world where universities have adopted online examination, we have to take into account that they have a small student strength of 4000-10,000.
"In our case, the number is large and we also see that the people are spread throughout the country with different backgrounds and demographic issues. Some are housewives, some are poor, some are working, some are located in remote areas so we have to see the feasibility," he said.
The VC said the university is yet to figure out whether the option will be made available at its centres or students will be able to take the examination from anywhere.
"The modalities are being worked out. Working out on the examination pattern as well as the infrastructural issues, is a challenging task but the experts are on the job," he said.
The university had started online examination for 27 courses in 2010 on an experimental basis, but the proposal had been withdrawn two years later after the UGC objected to it.
"We had started with 27 courses which had a student strength of not more than 300, to experiment the feasibility. The response was good but later it had to be withdrawn when UGC said it doesn't recognise the online mode of examination.
"Now, they (UGC) will be taken onboard to find a way out which is also recognised by the commission," the VC said.
The university offers a total of 228 bachelors, masters, diploma and certificate programmes.