Indira Gandhi National Open University known as IGNOU, is a Central University located at Maidan Garhi, New Delhi, India. Named after former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, the university was established in 20 September 1985 with a budget of ₹20 million, after the Parliament of India passed the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985 (IGNOU Act 1985).IGNOU is run by the central government of India, and with total active enrollment of over 4 million students, claims to be the largest university in the world.
The University began by offering two academic programmes in 1987, i.e., Diploma in Management and Diploma in Distance Education, with a strength of 4,528 students. In 1989, the first Convocation was held and more than 1,000 students graduated and were awarded their diplomas. IGNOU audio-video courses were first broadcast by radio and television in 1990 and IGNOU awarded degrees received full recognition by the University Grants Commission in 1992 as being equivalent to those of other universities in the country.In 1999, IGNOU launched the first virtual campus in India,beginning with the delivery of Computer and Information Sciences courses via the Internet.
Today, it serves the educational aspirations of over 4 million students in India and other countries through 21 Schools of Studies and a network of 67 regional centres, around 2,667 learner support centres and 29 overseas partner institutions. 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 counsellors from conventional institutions of higher learning, professional organisations, and industry among others.
IGNOU was founded to serve the Indian population by means of distance and open education, providing quality higher education opportunities to all segments of society. It also aims to encourage, coordinate and set standards for distance and open education in India, and to strengthen the human resources of India through education. 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.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 decentralisation process by setting up five zones; north, south, east, west and north-east. The first of the regional headquarters, catering to four southern states, Pondicherry , Andaman and Nicobar Islands 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. IGNOU also partners up with other organizations to launch courses. IGNOU offers a BBA in Retail distance learning course in association with Retailers Association of India (RAI).
- Prof. G. Ram Ready 1985-1990
- Prof. V.C Kulandaiswamy 1990-1995
- Prof. Ram G Takwale 1995-1998
- Prof. A.W Khan 1998-2001
- Prof. H.P Dikshit 2001-2006
- Prof. V.N Rajasekharan Pillai 2006-2011
- Prof. M Aslam 2011-2012
- Prof. Gopinath Pradhan 2012-2013
- Prof. M Aslam 2013-2017
- Prof. Nageshwar Rao 2018-Present