Kapil Sibal stresses on spreading distance education
New Delhi: Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday said the government was aiming to get at least seven million students, largely from the underprivileged sections, enrolled in distance education programme to make education inclusive.
In a message at the convocation function of the Indira Gandhi National Open University, Sibal said that distant education can help in achieving the gross enrollment ratio of 30 percent by 2020.
"Distance education has became popular because it offers people from rural, working class communities access to higher education. We are thus targeting an enrolment of at least 7 million students, with a majority from the disadvantaged sections and locations, during the next few years," Sibal said in a recorded message as he was off to Mumbai for the World Cup final match.
"The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is presently hovering at a mere 13 percent, a whole 10 percent below the world average. I am setting sights to raise it to the global average by 2020, which by then will be around 30 percent," he said.
More than 2.15 lakh students across the country got degrees, diplomas and certificates and a total of 78 students received gold medals at the convocation ceremony held by the university, the world's largest open university.
Nearly 45,000 students received Bachelor's Degree, 21,000 Masters' Degree, 60,000 diplomas and approximately 91,000 students earned certificates in a ceremony held simultaneously at 51 IGNOU regional centres across the country.
Speaking on the occasion, IGNOU Vice Chancellor Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai stressed the initiatives taken by the university to promote the GER and said, "120 districts were identified with the GER between 3.0 and 7.0 where IGNOU can tap the prospective learners in the age group of 18-23 years. Both enrollment of fresh learners by IGNOU and retention of learners in the IGNOU system are being addressed to."
The VC added that the IGNOU is playing a key role in creating 500 million certified technicians and skilled workers by 2020.
Stressing the University's growth story in the past four years, Pillai said the IGNOU is uniquely poised to enter the 2010-2020 Decade of Innovation.
"IGNOU's approach in this Decade of Innovation is to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth in education, skill development, healthcare, energy, agriculture and infrastructure."
"The university plans to design learning and training modules, courses and programmes through which learners can pay skills providers directly and make the knowledge and skill acquired bankable through testing and certification, converting them into diplomas, higher diplomas, associate degrees and degrees," Pillai added.