The Indira Gandhi National Open University which is popularly known as ‘IGNOU’ is a National Open University that houses its headquarters in New Delhi. This University was named after the former and first lady Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. It was established in 1985 with a budget of Rs. 2,000 crore after the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985 was passed by the Parliament of India.

IGNOU is known as the largest university in the world that caters to over 3 million students worldwide. It was established as a National Resource Centre with the prime purpose to impart education by means of distance and open education to students who cannot afford to attend a regular college. It also offers higher education opportunities in particular to the disadvantaged segments of the Indian society. It aims to encourage, coordinate and set quality standards for distance and open education in India and therefore strengthen the human resources of the country through the field of education. Besides teaching and research work, IGNOU offers extension programs and skill oriented training courses through its academic activities.

The concept of an Open University was recommended way back in 1970. This recommendation suggested the establishment of an ‘Open University’ in India on an experimental basis wherein the Indian Government appointed an eight-member working group in 1974 led by G. Parthasarathi who was then the Vice-Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University [JNU]. Admission Procedure, Age Relaxation, preparation of reading materials, set up of a core group of scholars in different educational fields, set up of study centres, vehicle of curricular programmes, live contact with teachers, and so on were other aspects that were also recommended by the core work group to be included in the Open University. Upon these recommendations, the Union Government prepared a draft bill for the establishment of a National Open University; however, this process was delayed due to unknown reasons.

Later, in 1985, the Union Government again made a policy statement for the establishment of a National Open University in India. A Plan was introduced by a Committee that constituted of members of the Ministry of Education and on the basis of their report; the Union Government introduced a Bill in the Parliament of India. Finally in August 1985, this Bill was passed by both the Houses of the Parliament and subsequently, the National Open University or IGNOU was realised and established on 20th September, 1985.

Today, IGNOU is considered as a University of International Standard and is recognised across the globe as a premier Open University that caters to approximately 3.8 million students in India and 40 countries that includes Afghanistan, Bahrain, China, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Gambia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, the UAE, UK, Vietnam and West Indies.

IGNOU houses 21 Schools worldwide and has a network of 59 Regional Centres, 52 overseas centres, 7 sub-regional centres and 2,600 study centres. These 21 Schools include the School of Agriculture, School of Computer & Information Sciences, School of Continuing Education, School of Education, School of Engineering & Technology, School of Extension & Development Studies, School of Foreign Languages, School of Gender & Development Studies, School of Health Sciences, School of Humanities, School of Interdisciplinary & Trans-disciplinary Studies, School of Journalism and New Media Studies, School of Law, School of Management Studies, School of Performing & Visual Arts, School of Sciences, School of Social Sciences, School of Social Work, School of Tourism Hospitality Service Sectoral Management, School of Translation Studies and Training & School of Vocational Education and Training. Over 20% of students in India enrol with IGNOU for higher education level programs.

IGNOU offers 175 academic programs that comprise of 1,100 courses at degree, diploma and certificate course levels. Besides these courses, IGNOU also offers several non-accredited extension and skill-oriented programs. IGNOU also has 11 Divisions that are responsible for various activities. These include the Academic and Coordination Division, Administrative Division, Computer Division, Construction and Maintenance, Finance and Accounts Division, International Division, Library and Documentation Division, Material Production and Distribution, Planning and Development Division, Regional Services Division & the Student Registration and Evaluation division.

IGNOU has won numerous accolades and recognition in the department of Distance Education. It accredits open universities and distance education systems in India through the Distance Education Council [DEC] under the Clause 16 and Statute 28 of the IGNOU Act 1985.

Contact Information:
Address: Indira Gandhi National Open University, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi – 110 068

List of Important Contacts

  • IGNOU Helpline For General Enquiry
    Phone: + 91 – 11 – 2957 1000 [EPABX with 30 Lines]
  • Student Support Services Centre
    Phone: + 91 – 11 – 2953 5714
    Fax: + 91 – 11 – 2953 3129
  • Regional Services Division
    Phone: + 91 – 11 – 2953 2072 , + 91 – 11 – 2953 4492
  • Student Evaluation Division
    Phone: + 91 – 11 – 2953 5828 , + 91 – 11 – 2953 5438 , + 91 – 11 – 2953 6743 ,
    + 91 – 11 – 2953 6405 , + 91 – 11 – 2953 5438
    Fax: + 91 – 11 – 2953 4429
  • Computer Division
    Phone: + 91 – 11 – 2953 3723 , + 91 – 11 – 2957 1913
    Fax: + 91 – 11 – 2953 3076
  • Student Registration Division
    Phone: + 91 – 11 – 2953 2741
    Fax: + 91 – 11 – 2953 2686