'Mobile Study Centres have increased student participation' - IGNOU VC

New Delhi: "The Mobile Study Centre scheme of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) takes off the ground", announced Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice Chancellor of IGNOU on Sunday.

Speaking about the Mobile Study Centres of IGNOU, Prof. Pillai said:

"The scheme has resulted in enhanced participation of students as per initial expectations. As per information, the scheme has resulted in student attendance up to 80 percent.

The Dindori Study Centre of Madhya Pradesh has been converted into a mobile study centre. This is for the Bachelor's Preparatory Programme (BPP) of IGNOU in which students shall get counseling.

The idea of Mobile Study Centre had originated, keeping in view the criteria of cost effectiveness as well as enhancing the access of education to the underprivileged sections of the society.

Since Dindori is the most backward district in our region in terms of infrastructure as well as poverty, it was selected for the initiation of this project.

Two locations Samnapur and Dagauna had been identified. The academic support services for the learners were to be provided from the nearby study centre through a mobile van, by carrying the educational resources.

Such a scheme envisages the large participation of students in the face-to-face counseling sessions because of arranging classes at the nearest locations from their villages.

It will further enhance the participation, involvement and interest of the learners of these remote locations, since they don't have to spend money in the transportation to attend counseling sessions at the district level study centres.

Madhya Pradesh is one of the slowly developing states of our country which has a comparatively poor transport network, especially in terms of road connectivity with its rural and tribal areas.

At present, the Jabalpur Regional Centre of IGNOU is looking after 12 districts of Madhya Pradesh, out of which only Jabalpur district is facilitated by an all-round network. Under these circumstances, it's too difficult to maintain enrollments with existing support mechanism in terms of availability of the infrastructure in the region.

Going by the enrollment pattern of the last few years, it has been observed that programmes like BPP have tremendous potential in this region because of the large number of dropouts especially among women, and girls.

In Open and Distance Learning system, generally the attendance in the face-to-face counseling sessions is very low and the utilization of the other academic resources such as library etc. is not very encouraging.

At the same time, learner needs also vary from place to place. In the tribal-dominated areas served by the Regional Centre, the population density is very low and there is acute poverty in the rural areas because of the low productivity of the agricultural land."

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