Teacher Training through ODL in Maharashtra: The IGNOU Experience
Quality Teacher education is crucial for the development of society and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly to achieve universal primary education. IGNOU offers a Bachelors Degree in Education through Open and Distance Learning mode. This B.Ed degree is recognized by the National Council for Teacher Education and is much valued and sought after. From a single study centre in Nagpur for the whole of Maharashtra, there are now eleven study centers, out of which six are in Pune region. 100 learners are allotted to each study centre. The total number of applicants for the entrance test each year runs into more than 12 thousand in Maharashtra. The demand for quality teacher education through ODL mode is increasing. The B.Ed programme of IGNOU has provided access to several government primary school teachers who aspire to upgrade their skills and move upward in their career paths. Not only has IGNOU provided the access to in-service graduate teachers to upgrade their qualifications, but it has also been successful in transforming the quality of teaching in the rural areas of the State of Maharashtra where these student teachers are employed. Most of the applicants and the admitted B.Ed learners in Maharashtra are primary school teachers teaching in the government district schools. IGNOU’s B.Ed degree is recognized by the National Council for Teacher Education. IGNOU is the apex body of Distance Education in India and the degrees, diplomas, certificates awarded are of an exceptionally good quality. Some objectives of IGNOU are democratizing higher education by taking it to the doorsteps of the learners; providing access to high quality education to all those who seek it irrespective of age, offering need based academic programmes by giving professional and vocational orientation to the courses. // This paper attempts to examine the perceptions of successful B.Ed learners of IGNOU and find out whether they have succeeded in achieving their objectives and to know the challenges that they faced and how they overcame any difficulties. An attempt is made to find out how they have benefited from this programme.