Established in 1985 with a budget of ₹20 million, after the Parliament of India passed the IGNOU Act, 1985. Indira Gandhi National Open University has continuously striven to build & serve an inclusive knowledge society through inclusive education.
Commonly known as IGNOU, the university is a distance learning national university located its main branch at Maidan Garhi, New Delhi, India.
IGNOU is run by the central government of India, and with the total active enrollment of over 4 million students, claims to be the largest university in the world.
Apart from teaching and research, extension and training form the mainstay of its academic activities. It also acts as a national resource centre and serves to promote and maintain standards of distance education in India.
The university started by offering two academic courses in 1987, i.e., Diploma in Management and Diploma in Distance Education, with a strength of 4,528 students.
Today, it serves education over 2.7 million students in India and other countries through 21 Schools of Studies and a network of 67 regional centers, around 2,667 learner support centres, and 29 overseas partner institutions.
At present, the university offers about 228 certificate, diploma, degree and doctoral programmes, with a strength of nearly 810 faculty members and 574 academic staff at the headquarters and regional centres and about 33,212 academic counselors from conventional institutions of higher learning, professional organizations, and industry among others.
The university is committed to quality in teaching, research, training and extension activities, and acts as a national resource centre for expertise and infrastructure in the Open and Distance Learning system.
IGNOU hosts the Secretariats of the SAARC Consortium on Open and Distance Learning (SACODiL) and the Global Mega Universities Network (GMUNET), initially supported by UNESCO.
IGNOU has started a decentralization process by setting up five zones; north, south, east, west, and northeast. The first of the regional headquarters, catering to four southern states, Pondicherry, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep, is being set up in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. The Ministry of HRD has entrusted the responsibility of developing Draft Policy on Open and Distance Learning and Online Courses to IGNOU.