IGNOU Sans Study Centres: An Exclusive ICT-based Futuristic Approach
Keywords:Study Centres, Sans, Academic Support, ICT
This is an era of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The technological interventions in our day-to-day lives have been increasing constantly. Though, IGNOU being the National Open University, with the network of 67 regional centres (RCs) and more than 3000 study centres, has been successfully making its vivid presence felt, across the length and breadth of the country. However, due to its this ubiquitous status, the degree of quality of academic support being offered to learners through its study centres has been noticeably varying at both the levels – inter-regional and intra-regional. On the other hand,
the extent of academic support being received by the learners is also effected by some learner-related factors viz. their socio-economic background, employment status, geographical situation, etc. Hence, the question arises, when there has been a deep penetration of ICT into our lives, is it still viable to deploy a large chunk of tangible human and financial resources at the study centres; which accounts for about 40 per cent of the total expenditure of RCs; for intangible varying degree of academic support being extended by the study centres to the learners. Moreover, various malpractices at the study centres being
reported, repeatedly, by various stakeholders including learners, further propelled the need for doing away with the study centres. In other words, with immense advancements in the field of ICT; and everexpanding spectrum of ICT users, does IGNOU still need study centres? With this backdrop, an attempt was made to explore the possibility for IGNOU to do away with the third tier of IGNOU’s structure i.e. study centres, completely; and provide academic support to its learners, exclusively, through ICT; to deal with the challenges of access, equity, quality, and affordability. Accordingly, a research project was undertaken to ascertain the perception and readiness of learners towards IGNOU providing academic support through ICT without study centres. Based on the findings of the research, a suggestive model has been designed for dismantling the network of IGNOU’s study centres, in a phased manner, which will go a long way for the quantitative and qualitative
development of higher education in the country.