With a view to increasing the access to higher education and improving the quality of education offered through the open and distance learning modes by coordinating such provisions in the state, the Government of Tamil Nadu established the Tamil Nadu Open University in 2002 with the motto of extending education to ‘anyone, anytime, anywhere’. Since its inception, the University has thus been catering to the learning needs of the disadvantaged and deprived in the society. The Tamil Nadu Open University in the country.
The growth of the University during the past 14 years has been phenomenal. With a cumulative student strength of 5,29,263 in 113 Programmes of study across various disciplines and skills at different levels from Certificate to Post- Graduate that are imparted through 13 academic schools, 5 Support Divisions, 1 media Centre and a robust network of 607 Learner Support and Service Centres across the state.
The Tamil Nadu Open University is the first University in the state to have introduced the credit – based self – learning materials in print as early as 2003. While the round –the-year admission policy with examination schedules conveniently arranged on week –ends and the effective continuous assessment provision have sufficiently addressed the issue of quantity in the form of increasing higher education access, the University has been harnessing the advancements in ICT to continuously improve quality. The University has digitalized its learner support systems including admission, examination, material distribution, academic counselling, etc. So far, 1, 71,430 students have passed out of the University and the current enrolment (2015 – 2016) stands at 29,351 with male students accounting for 14,206. With the sanctioned teaching staff strength of 65 and non – teaching staff strength of 77, the University has been ably addressing the learning needs of all the students.
The University is one of the 5, among the 15 Open Universities in the country, to have been accorded the recognition under section 12B of the University Grants Commission (UGC). It is also one of the very few Universities in the country to have received approval of the UGC for offering all its academic Programmes through the distance mode.
The exemplary achievements of the University are as follows:
◊ Having signed an MOU with the National Skill Development Council (NSDC), the University is the only institution in the state which has made all its vocational programmes compliant with the NVEQN (National Vocation Educational Qualification Network).
◊ It is the only University in the state offering Special Education programmes in 3 specializations of hearing impaired, mentally retarded and visually challenged in the distance learning mode.
◊ It has established linkages with such international institutions as the Commonwealth of Learning (COL); Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) and International Council for Distance and Open learning (ICDE).
◊ Through an MOU with the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, the TNOU has commenced student admission for offering 16 agriculture related programmes at a distance through the Krishi Vigyan Kendra of the TNAU, aiming to cover 4,000 unemployed youth during 2016 – 2017.