A Study of Students’ Dropout in Non-Professional Undergraduate Degree Programmes of IGNOU
The positive correlation between high Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education of any country and its development is irrefutable. In developing countries like India, higher education has been considered to be in an abysmal state with a crunch of faculty and a dearth of resources and infrastructure. Very limited access and low GER have been other two major bottlenecks, especially in conventional system. Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is emerging as a potential alternative for extending the access of higher education to the mammoth population of India. IGNOU, being the only national institution of ODL of higher education, is having a mandate of democrati zation of higher education across the l ength and breadth of the country. With such a huge responsibility, IGNOU has managed to have a bigger pie of students’ enrollment at higher education level than any other conventional or ODL university. In other words, IGNOU is extending opportunity of higher education to a large number of aspirants of higher education. At this juncture, when access and enrollment are being discussed, it becomes quite pertinent to have an objective analysis of the state of affairs vis-à-vis retention and dropout, and programme completion, as well.
In simple words, while studying how many students were enrolled, it is equally important to analyze how many students were dropped-out and for what reasons; and also how many of them could actually complete their programmes. Here, a question of learner’s autonomy may arise vis-à-vis a student might have taken admission, just for enhancing and developing her/his knowledge and skills; obtaining degree might not be her/his aim at all. However, in a country like India, where getting admission in college or university is still a distant dream for a larger portion of population, the said proposition was not a deterrent in undertaking the present study.