Adding yet another plume to its cap of accolades gathered worldwide, the prestigious Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has now become the 'Largest University in the World' according to UNESCO. Writing on its website -- www.unesco.org -- UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said, ''Enrolments of nearly three million students and networks across the country, making the best use of Information Communication Technology (ICT), IGNOUs accomplishments are recognised worldwide.
''Nearly three million students across 34 countries study at IGNOU which is also Indias National Resource Centre for Open and Distance Learning and a world leader in distance education. Through its 21 schools of study, 59 regional centres, 2,300 learner support centres and some 52 overseas centres, the university offers certificate, diploma, degree and doctoral programmes, comprising around 1,500 courses.
''It also provides access to sustainable and learner-centred education and training to all through quality, innovative and needs-based programmes at affordable costs, thus reaching out to the disadvantaged. ''It promotes, coordinates and regulates the standards of education offered through open and distance learning in India,'' said Ms Bokova on website.
While IGNOUs staff consist of 380 faculty members and academic staff at its headquarters and regional centres, some 36,000 counsellors from conventional institutions of higher learning and professionals from different spheres are associated with it.
Also, with the launch of 'EduSat' (a satellite dedicated only to education) in 2004, and the establishment of the Inter-University Consortium, IGNOU has ushered in a new era of technology-enabled education.
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