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Book part
Publication date: 9 April 2021

Umesh Chandra Pandey

United Nation’s Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners, popularly known as Nelson Mandela Rules categorically advocates for the Prison Education and its…

Abstract

United Nation’s Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners, popularly known as Nelson Mandela Rules categorically advocates for the Prison Education and its integration with the educational system of the country. Moreover, principles for the treatment of prisoners, adopted by United Nation in 1990, guarantee that prisoners retain the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes right to take part in education also. However, there is little sensitization about the rights of prisoners in many countries. The issue has gained prominence as several international organizations have now raised concern on these matters.

Education of jail inmates has attracted the attention of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) systems in India. Among all the ODL institutions, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has been the major role player. Right from its first initiative to have a special study center in Tihar Jail in 1994, IGNOU’s network for jail inmates has undergone significant expansion. The university has now strong presence in the prisons. Under a special collaborative arrangement with Ministry of Home Affairs, IGNOU has started free education to jail inmates from 2010. This chapter gives a glimpse about the model being followed by IGNOU for providing education inside prisons, highlights its good practices, gaps in its functioning and makes recommendations for further strengthening of this network.

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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2020

Subash Ranjan Nayak, Nikhil Kant and Kumari Anjali

The purpose of this paper is to make an assessment of the challenges in disseminating higher education to the learners in tribal communities, and problems solving capacity…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to make an assessment of the challenges in disseminating higher education to the learners in tribal communities, and problems solving capacity of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) by strategically making use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) taking a case of Madhya Pradesh (MP), which is the most tribal dominated state of India. The paper offers valuable insight in to the usage of ICT as a strategy for the ODL system presenting an account of how it can be utilized effectively to disseminate higher education in tribal communities.

Design/methodology/approach

Exploratory and descriptive techniques were utilized in this paper adopting the research strategy of case study in terms of the strategic potentialities of ICT in disseminating higher education in tribal communities by ODL using it as a strategy for their empowerment and development.

Findings

The findings of the paper reveal that dissemination of higher education in tribal areas is a challenging task especially due to their socioeconomic conditions and ethno cultural settings in addition to numerous infrastructural and access related issues. In view of the need of integrating education with the Indigenous perspectives, ICT can be used as an effective strategy by ODL for disseminating higher education amongst learners in those communities by reaching out to them.

Practical implications

This paper concludes that ICT can help ODL immensely in developing countries such as India strategically in reaching the tribal learners surpassing financial and geographical constraints with a learner centric approach increasing the capacity, quality and cost effectiveness of education system bringing the concept of strategy to center stage, at a time when ICT has fundamentally changed the strategies of different sectors including education with the unprecedented growth in its use.

Originality/value

This paper concludes that ICT has fundamentally changed the strategies of different sectors including higher education with the unprecedented growth in its use. It also concludes that Indian higher educational sector faced with multitude of challenges is not insulated from the effect of ICT, and its emancipatory and transformative potentials in higher education can play a major substantive role by extending support to meet the increasing higher educational needs of the tribal communities by sufficiently embedding it so that their greater contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be ensured.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

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Article
Publication date: 2 November 2020

Saumya Saumya and Tushar Singh

The paper reports the feedback collected from students of the Master of Social Work (MSW) Programme of the School of Social Work (SOSW), Indira Gandhi National Open…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper reports the feedback collected from students of the Master of Social Work (MSW) Programme of the School of Social Work (SOSW), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), through open and distance learning (ODL), in India. The paper discusses findings related to learner profile, student support services, assignments, academic counselling, fieldwork, audio/video/teleconferencing facilities, Internet access and challenges faced by the learners. The findings will be useful for researchers and practitioners, will help in improving the overall quality of the programme, in designing the delivery mechanism as per the needs of MSW learners and in preparing them to be trained professionals to work in social development sector in India.

Design/methodology/approach

For data collection, a questionnaire was prepared and sent to all the students of the MSW programme along with assignment, across India. Responses from 290 students were voluntarily received.

Findings

The research findings are that MSW (ODL) students are older, mostly married with the average male learners age being 35 years and that of female learners being 30 years, there are more female learners than male learners, majority of the learners are Hindu from general category, tend to be employed, mostly full-time and some part-time, with work experience. They are from urban, semi-urban, rural and tribal areas with Internet access. Most of the students preferred to read printed self-learning materials than digitally available on eGyanKosh or IGNOUmobile app especially in rural areas though with increasing access to Internet, students are gradually opting for online materials while filling up the admission form. Majority of students found the quality and standard of study materials to be very good. Though maximum respondents gave positive feedback about the student support services and their learning experiences, some of the learners faced challenges like unco-operative staff members, administrative delays, non-allotment of academic counsellor/fieldwork supervisor, irregularity, late reception of study materials, lack of staff members at study centre, far distance of regional centre/study centre from residence, etc.

Research limitations/implications

The findings will help in designing and delivering the MSW programme in a more effective way. Based on the feedback received, the next revision of the programme will take into consideration the concerns of the learner. The limitation of the study is that not all learners responded to all the questions. Not all potential MSW learners filled the questionnaire and submitted it at the school. And those who responded had left some questions unanswered. Those who did not submit response may differ in their responses from what is received.

Originality/value

It is an original work and will be valuable in understanding the distance learner of MSW programme in India, programme delivery and challenges.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

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Article
Publication date: 4 October 2011

Seema Chandhok and Parveen Babbar

The purpose of this paper is to discover the perspectives of M‐Technologies in Distance Education Libraries. It proposes a model for providing e‐resources and other…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discover the perspectives of M‐Technologies in Distance Education Libraries. It proposes a model for providing e‐resources and other information services through mobile technology to its learners in Indira Gandhi National Open University, India.

Design/methodology/approach

In this qualitative study data were gathered through questionnaire and interviews from Distance Learners of IGNOU to access the actual requirement of Distance Learners for various m‐library services in the present scenario. The study is guided conceptually by the perceived need for m‐libraries and a growing usage of mobiles in India.

Findings

The data suggest that M‐Libraries offer a unique opportunity for distance learners in different kinds of learning environment settings. The proposed m‐library services architecture suggests developing an M‐library web site at IGNOU Library to effectively facilitate m‐library services, hence strengthening the M‐Learning in Distance Education System.

Originality/value

Considerably less literature exists about the m‐libraries and its services in Distance Education. This study will be of interest to distance education library and information professionals who wish to obtain a better understanding of M‐Libraries scenario and practices.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 2013

Kaushalendra Pratap Singh

According to the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, "Education is a liberating force, and in our age it is also a democratising force, cutting across the barriers…

Abstract

According to the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, "Education is a liberating force, and in our age it is also a democratising force, cutting across the barriers of caste and class, smoothing out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances." In India, not all are able to avail opportunities for education due to various reasons including accessibility. In this regard, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) provides education to the disadvantaged and unreached learners (some of them living in special circumstances) to build an inclusive knowledge society through inclusive education.

One of the world's largest prisons is the Tihar Central Jail in New Delhi. It has about 12,000 prisoners accommodated in its 10 jails. There are over 530 prisoners enrolled in various programmes from certificate to postgraduate levels with IGNOU. The School of Social Work (SOSW) is facilitating a study centre of IGNOU in this prison. Faculty members, research scholars and students are visiting this Central Jail thrice a week to reach these learners living in special circumstances with educational programmes as well as counselling services through professional social work intervention. The university has also helped several former inmates to find jobs. The School of Social Work is also involved in extending counselling services to the inmates with regards to their personal matters.

This paper explores the extent of interventions being made by IGNOU for the inmates in Tihar Central Jail, for their education, emotional support, transformation and rehabilitation after serving their jail term.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

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Article
Publication date: 30 September 2019

Bishnu Mohan Dash

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the perception of the students towards the quality and effectiveness of social work education offered by Indira Gandhi National…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the perception of the students towards the quality and effectiveness of social work education offered by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) through open and distance learning (ODL).

Design/methodology/approach

The sample size consisted of 150 students, 15 academic counsellors engaged in either teaching or development sectors, or faculty members of School of Social Work of IGNOU. The methods of data collection included interviews and content analysis. Interview schedule for students, interview guide for academic counsellors and interview guide for faculty members were used.

Findings

The study centres were allotted as per student’s choice. Students were satisfied with the counsellors because of their support, availability, contact, accessibility and assisting the students to clearing their doubts. The study found that the student’s attendance in counselling sessions was found to be negligible, even a large number of respondents were not aware of the ODL system. The study also shows that students face lots of problem with regard to their field work supervision and other components of field work as were also neglected.

Practical implications

The findings of the study are extremely relevant for formulating necessary guidelines for improving the social work education through ODL mode. The study recommends revision of course materials translated in Hindi language, holding of individual and group conferences regularly as well as proper evaluation of field work reports.

Originality/value

This is first such study conducted in India to examine the effectiveness of social work education through ODL.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2414-6994

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Article
Publication date: 26 May 2021

Anil K. Dimri

This research study aimed to collect feedback from the learners on the usefulness and effectiveness of the online counselling sessions organised during COVID-19 lockdown…

Abstract

Purpose

This research study aimed to collect feedback from the learners on the usefulness and effectiveness of the online counselling sessions organised during COVID-19 lockdown through online platforms to provide academic support to the learners.

Design/methodology/approach

The link of a questionnaire designed in a Google Form sent to IGNOU learners of the January 2020 session enrolled under the jurisdiction of IGNOU Regional Centre (RC) Chandigarh through email as well as SMSs. Total responses received were 487, out of which 445 responses were complete, roughly 8% of the total registered learners during the January 2020 session. The questionnaire contained questions on a cross-section of online counselling issues, besides questions on the learners' profile.

Findings

Majority of the learners were satisfied with the input provided while organising online counselling sessions during COVID-19 lockdown in India. A significant proportion of learners (88%) used smartphones for attending counselling sessions. Facebook page of the RC rated as a relatively better option than other online platforms. However, more than 50% of learners faced Internet connection problems and found them a significant hurdle for smooth viewing of online counselling sessions. The proportion of learners who encountered difficulties in handling electronic devices was insignificant. The learner's feedback on many attributes such as usefulness and effectiveness of the online counselling sessions, interaction with the academic counsellors, e-content used in the counselling was significantly positive. A significant proportion of the learners have reported that face to face counselling could be replaced with online sessions in future, considering its flexibility in terms of place and schedule of learning and availability of recording of such sessions.

Research limitations/implications

The research study was conducted under Chandigarh region of IGNOU which has a predominantly urban population. Thus the results of the study are limited to Chandigarh region and the region with similar socio-economic settings. This certainly limits the scope of the study.

Practical implications

The study certainly provides valuable feedback to the ODL policymakers to consider replacing face-to-face counselling with an online mode in a phased manner. Online counselling options will be highly cost-effective, easily manageable, and provide flexibility for learners and resource persons, resulting in addressing learners' non-attendance related issues in the face-to-face counselling sessions.

Social implications

In the analysis of our finding it is clearly stated that the Internet connectivity and availability of electronic devices is an important issue to provide online counselling support to socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Therefore, the research study also identifies such social issues as a major challenge for providing online counselling support to the learners.

Originality/value

This is an original empirical research study and data collected is used in the analysis for the first time. This analysis is based on the feedback gathered from the learners registered at IGNOU RC Chandigarh during the January 2020 session. The data and derived results not used in any other study.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2019

Sayantani Guin

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the method of field work supervision in BSW and MSW programmes offered through open and distance learning (ODL) at the Indira…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the method of field work supervision in BSW and MSW programmes offered through open and distance learning (ODL) at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). The key argument of the paper will focus on the fact that despite various challenges, field work supervision through ODL provides lot of scope and flexibility to students, generating a cadre of trained social work professionals.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a case study approach in presenting the various methods employed for field work supervision by the University. This section will highlight the achievements in terms of developing indigenous theory course and the best practices adopted by IGNOU to train social work professionals through adequate and timely supervision in the ODL mode.

Findings

Field work supervision in the ODL mode poses many challenges, especially when compared to that in the conventional universities. Some of these include irregular meeting of supervisor and student, inability of students to meet supervisor due to several reasons like remote location, poor economic background, lack of leave for working professionals, etc.

Research limitations/implications

There is a need for developing a mechanism to regularly orient field work supervisors in supervising students in the ODL mode. It is recommended that regular field work practicum workshops be conducted for supervisors and students. Viva for field work could be made mandatory at different regional centres. Field work supervision could be enhanced through the use of technology, namely, Skype, e-mail, WhatsApp, etc.

Originality/value

The paper describes the various nuances of field work supervision through ODL system. It is an original work and is of great value in understanding the challenges and difficulties encountered by learners and academic counsellors throughout the process of supervision. The paper highlights important recommendations by the stakeholders themselves in mitigating the challenges faced during field work supervision through ODL.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2414-6994

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 March 2013

Gracious Thomas

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) Chair at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was established with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding…

Abstract

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) Chair at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) was established with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CBCI and IGNOU on 29 February 2000 to plan, design, develop and launch socially relevant programmes of study in the areas of HIV/AIDS social work, philosophy, etc. The one-time endowment grant of US$125,000 facilitates the programme development process without any financial contribution from IGNOU. In the 13 years of its existence, the CBCI Chair has developed eight programmes – from Certificate to Doctoral programmes. Some of these programmes have been revised. Over 30,000 students have enrolled for these programmes, which are being offered in 12 countries. Although the chair follows all the prescribed procedures for programme development and launch, the nature, scope and financial viability being enjoyed by the Chair facilitates timely decision making and achievement of targets. The CBCI Chair is a success story in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) as it has helped in the establishment of the first School of Social Work in ODL, the Centre for Tibetan Studies and the Mother Teresa Chair. The Chair has been instrumental in providing scholarships and awards to several students. This paper examined the what, why and how of the CBCI Chair and the implications it has as a model towards targeted interventions in ODL systems, quality assurance, maintenance and sustainability.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

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Book part
Publication date: 14 September 2018

Ananya Sankar Guha and Isagahah Lawrniang

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and mixed technology as ontology for self and distance learning in the…

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to examine the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and mixed technology as ontology for self and distance learning in the state of Meghalaya in North East India. The points of reference are the population of the state, the men/women ratio, gender ratio of learners, the tele-density of the state, the number of colleges and the rural urban divide. Data and statistics are taken from secondary sources. The chapter highlights the specific use of mixed technologies to address the new breed of learners today; a hybrid of text and hypertext; the digital learner, with his or her penchant for technology; and the mobile phone. Distance education is now gradually merging with online ontology of teaching/learning. The chapter has come up with suggestions for improving delivery of educational services in the state of Meghalaya in North East India. The originality/value of this chapter lies in the cross currents of using technology for learning in the mid of the rural urban divide, strongly advocating the course of digital learners in a state of India besotted with poor road connectivity and envisaging mixed technologies: the computer, radio and the mobile phone as integrated methods of learning.

Details

Stakeholders, Governance and Responsibility
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-380-3

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