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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

20 Years of Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad

In 1974 under an Act of Parliament, it was for the first time that in this part of the Region, a distance teaching educational institution with the name of Peoples Open University was established in Pakistan.
In 1977 on the occasion of the Centenary celebrations of the birth of great national poet, Allama Muhammad lqbal, University\'s name was changed from Peoples Open University to Allama lqbal Open University. It was only after the establishment of this kind of University in Pakistan that similar Open Universities were opened in many other countries of the South Asian Region.
Now with a passage of 20 years of its existence, the Allama Iqbal Open University is celebrating its 20th Anniversary to mark a point in its life where it has almost passed its teenage and has now proudly entered into its age of maturity. This occasion also signifies the will and commitment of all those who conceived this idea, were the pioneers of this institution, have worked for is promotion in the past and include several hundred thousand students who were able to educate themselves while being at their own homes and places of work for making this University a real centre of excellence.
Significance of Allama Iqbal Open University - an institution of its own kind - lies in its philosophical concept of \'OPENNESS\'. While students come to study at conventional Universities, under the open learning system, Allama lqbal Open University herself goes to the students.
This distinction of the AIOU to reach her students in their own homes and places of work through present day use of technology in education (mutual reinforcement of correspondence text with appropriate mass media mixed) symbolically expresses University\'s openness so that it is, in this sense, a University without walls.
The need for establishing a distance educational institution was left with the purpose to:
- provide facilities to people who cannot leave their homes and job places;
- provide such facilities to the masses for their educational uplift;
- provide facilities for the training of teachers; and
- to provide education to all irrespective of the age.
The University has its 3 Regional Offices throughout the country.
The AIOU is primarily a distance teaching institution, using multi-media techniques. The main components of its teaching system are:
- Correspondence packages, which include self-learning printed texts and supplementary study material.
- Radio and television broadcasts specially prepared for distance learners.
- Tutorial instruction through correspondence and face to face learning at study centres, where possible, with workshops where appropriate.
- Course assignments as an instrument of teaching and continuous assessment.
The system has been able to produce hundreds of short and long term courses catering to the needs of thousands of students everywhere in the country. Student enrolment and number of courses in increasing every year and with its own limited resources the AIOU has been able to cope with this increasing demand of its learners. Today the University has an annual enrolment of 662452 students. In general education, the University offers courses at Literacy, Matric, Intermediate and BA/B.Sc. level. Courses are also offered at MA/M.Sc. and M. Phil level. Hundreds of self text books have been developed by the University. Specially developed \'READERS\' meant for MA/M.Sc students are recent additions. Many other courses like Women Policing, Environmental Studies, Open Tech, Mining and Energy are being developed and would be offered soon. Not only the AIOU students are using these learning packages, which include audio-video lessons with detailed Study Guides, but many other students of the formal system are benefiting from these also. Those who graduate from this University are themselves establishing their own worth in the Market. What perhaps is most important is the fact that the system is viable, cost-effective and above all it works and works well.
To commemorate the occasion Pakistan Post is issuing a commemorative postage stamp of Rs. 1 .25 denomination on December 16, 1995.