The Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said the government was aiming to get at least seven million students, majorly from the underprivileged sections, enrolled in distance education programme to make education inclusive.
Sibal believes that distant education can help in achieving the gross enrollment ratio of 30 percent by 2020."Distance education has become popular because it offers people from rural, working class communities access to higher education. We are thus targeting an enrolment of at least 7 million students, with a majority from the disadvantaged sections and locations, during the next few years."
With Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education currently ticking at a mere 13 percent,much below the world average. Sibal wants to raise the GER to the global average by 2020.At the convocation ceremony held by IGNOU, the world's largest open university, Vice Chancellor Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai mentioned the initiatives taken by the university to promote the GER. He said, "120 districts were identified with the GER between 3.0 and 7.0 where IGNOU can tap the prospective learners in the age group of 18-23 years. Both enrollment of fresh learners by IGNOU and retention of learners in the IGNOU system are being addressed to."
The VC added that the IGNOU is playing a key role in creating 500 million certified technicians and skilled workers by 2020.The university also plans to design learning and training modules, courses and programmes through which learners can pay skills providers directly and make the knowledge and skill acquired bankable through testing and certification, converting them into diplomas, higher diplomas, associate degrees and degrees.