The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was established by an Act of Parliament in 1985 to broad-base the reach of education and provide cost-effective and quality learning facilities to large sections of our population, including those living in remote and far-flung areas. Today, it serves the educational aspirations of about 1.85 million students in India and about 32 other countries. IGNOU imparts the study programmes through 21 Schools of Study, with a network of 62 regional centres, more than 2050 study centres/ tele-learning centres and around 51 overseas centres. The University offers need based academic programmes, including professional, vocational and general awareness programmes to the seekers. Most of these programmes have been created to fulfil the learners need for:

  • acquisition of academic and professional qualifications;
  • continuing education and professional development at the work-place; and
  • skill-enhancement

The methodology of instruction in the University is learner-centric. The teaching-learning process is through self-instructional learning materials, based on the credit system. The self-study is aided by the support facilities provided at study centers throughout the country. The Virtual Class provides an e-learning platform to deliver online programmes of the University. The online platform is a complete virtual learning environment suite covering all activities from registration to certification.

IGNOU offers 167 Certificate, Diploma, Degree and Doctoral programmes comprising around 1,600 courses. These are supported by faculty members and academic staff at the headquarters and Regional Centres. The academic counsellors drawn from conventional institutions of higher learning, and professionals from various organizations also give the necessary back-up. As of now, IGNOU has about 700 centres equipped with one–way video and two–way audio facility and more than 134 EduSat television based centers with interactive facility. The application of state-of-the-art ICTs has further helped in reaching out to the hitherto un-reached sections of the society. Access, quality and equity are IGNOU’s guiding principles.

IGNOU is also actively involved in research, training, extension and capacity building activities. It also co-ordinates and monitors distance education system throughout the country in its capacity as an Apex Body christened as the “Distance Education Council”. It uses innovative technologies and methodologies and fosters convergence of existing systems for massive human resource required for promoting integrated national development and global understanding. To know more about the University please visit the website at http://www.ignou.ac.in.


Chair for Sustainable Development


With the declaration 0f 2005-2014 as the decade of education for Sustainable Development by the United Nations, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) established in March 2007, a University level Chair, cutting across disciplines and schools, to develop and promote Education for Sustainable Development in India.


The eminent agricultural scientist Professor M.S. Swaminathan has been appointed as the Honorary Chair for Sustainable Development at IGNOU. He is among the most distinguished and an internationally acclaimed leader in agriculture and sustainable rural development. His original concepts and operationalisation of Agenda 21 in the nature of ever-green revolution, biovillages and village knowledge centres for technological and knowledge empowerment respectively of the rural women and men, have set models not only for India, but for most of the developing countries. There is an urgent need for a predominantly agricultural and highly populous developing country, India, to incorporate sustainability in every sphere of its developmental activity. Sustainability science has scientific, technological, ecological, social, gender and economic dimensions. It is thus a multidisciplinary field, involving interdisciplinary inputs. The sustainable development derives its international and national support from Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. It also relies on the principle that human destiny on planet Earth remains entwined with nature notwithstanding political and geographic demarcations.

Through the Honorary Chair, the IGNOU would enhance awareness and know-how to a wide spectrum of scientists, environmentalists, administrators, social scientists, policy makers and enlightened corporate sectors on the urgent and imperative need to put sustainability in the centre of all their endeavours. Wherever appropriate policy interventions are required, the Appreciation Programme on Sustainable Development offered by IGNOU is expected to be a guidepost. The programme is rooted in the principles of Agenda 21. It endeavours to promote Sustainable Development with a global spirit of “Our Common Future”, to rescue planet Earth from the brink of collapse. The Appreciation Programme also takes cognizance of the threat of climate change to sustainable development. To know more about the Chair please visit the website at http://www.ignou.ac.in/csd/home.htm.