Updated: April 24, 2017 8:04:29 pm
Malawi, a South-East African nation, will adopt an open and digital learning institution based on the system of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). For this purpose, the Malawian minister of education, science and technology lead a delegation to India.
The delegation was welcomed by IGNOU Vice Chancellor Ravindra Kumar who, along with his team, were briefed about the low enrolment rates in higher education and the high drop out rates at the primary and secondary levels in Malawi.
Its government has been trying to imitate open and distance learning at various colleges to bridge this gap in education and they seek IGNOU’s expertise in to develop and spread content of quality every day across the country.
“We are the largest university in terms of student enrollment. Our current strength of students has crossed the three million mark,” said Kumar, adding that IGNOU has over 1.3 million actives students annually and that they are the sole pan-India university to function across 3000 study centres. During the address, he highlighted the main characteristics of open and digital learning to the delegation.
He added that of the 1.65 crore books published every year, 70 per cent of the content is kept online for students, irrespective of whether they belong to the university or not.
“This has democratized education. Given the size of the country, it was very difficult to provide quality study material. So, when we introduced this system by printing study material and putting it on the website, we overcame the challenge of this disparity,” Kumar said.
He also stressed the importance of providing bilingual study material printed in both native languages and in English, which would preserve the cultural identity of the students. He further noted that technology played an important role in disseminating education.
“We have developed a state of the art electronic media production center for dissemination of learning. We also have a PAN Africa education network wherein we have laid a dedicated cable under the sea between India and more than 23 African centers of which Malawi’s Chancellor College is a part,” he said.
The VC extended full support to Malawi and proposed a collaborative framework to build an Open and Digital Learning University in the nation.
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