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2016-06-18 05:11:25

IGNOU VC Prof Aslam Alig : Recognized as world renowned thinker, targeted by HRD minister

How shabbily we treat our world-renowned academics and educationists who brought laurels to the country; the latest case in point is the Vice Chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University Prof Mohammad Aslam.  He was asked to go on ‘leave’ since November 20014 on the alibi of conducting an inquiry into the functioning of IGNOU by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) without any rhyme or reason. What is more appalling that he was even denied the inquiry report to defend himself and was forced to knock the doors of CIC and court.

Now it has become crystal clear that MHRD is leaving no stone unturned to keep Prof. Aslam away from the University under one or the other pretext as his case is being dragged on the MHRD. It was an unprecedented decision by the Ministry by asking a Vice-Chancellor to go on leave during an inquiry particularly when there were no financial irregularities or nepotism was involved.

However, Prof Aslam is not a tinpot academic personality but a world-renowned educationist and thinker.  In this connection, it is worthy to mention that  the UK- based journal ‘Thought Economics’ , which is   read in over 120 countries,  recognized Prof Aslam as one of the most influential thinkers of the world. It gets exclusive one to one interviews with the individuals who have shaped the world, or shaping the future, and impact every aspect of human lives.

The UK- based journal was founded by Vikas Shah in 2007, and has been recognized globally for the quality of its editorial content, having been named as an Official Honoree at the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Webby Awards (run by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences) for Best Writing (Editorial) alongside the New York Times, the BBC, The Paris Review, Vanity Fair, The Financial Times and National Geographic.

The journal covers a diverse range of topics and features interviews with many of the world’s most prominent leaders, Nobel laureates and thinkers.

Talking to Muslim Mirror, Prof Aslam stated that  Mr Vikas Shah asked him  to be a part of an interview on, “ How Education Made Us” along side with some prominent thinkers including Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin (Chair of the Board, Nobel Foundation), Sal Khan (Founder, Khan Academy), Professor Lino Guzzella (President, ETH Zurich), Bunker Roy (Founder, Barefoot College), Professor Anant Agarwal (CEO, edX), Professor Sanjay Sarma (Vice President for Open Learning, MIT),Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell (President, the University of Manchester), Professor Tan Chorh Chuan (President, National University of Singapore), Shai Reshef (President, UOPeople), Professor Michael Arthur (President & Provost, University College London – UCL), Dr. Andrew Hamilton (President, NYU) and Professor Daphne Koller (Co-Founder, Coursersa).

The interview, in case you are interested, can be accessed on


This gives a fair idea about Prof Aslam’s high standing in the world academic fraternity.  Before joining the IGNOU, Prof Aslam in his more than four decades career has served in the World Bank and also in Kashmir in the Institute of Management and Public Administration.  He had done commendable work in the Panchayat Raj System.

Prof. M. Aslam has rich and varied experience both at national and international levels in University Administration; Distance & Continuing Education; ICT, Communication and Extension; Multi-Media in Distance Eduction; Training Methodology; Training skills; and Transactional Analysis from his 39 years career in the field, out of which he spent about 25 years as a Professor/Director at IGNOU and about 8 years on an international assignment.

Earlier he served IGNOU as Director, School of Continuing Education, from May 1998-May, 2001 and again from January, 2009 to October, 2011. He also served as Director, National Centre for Innovations in Distance Education, IGNOU from Dec, 2006-Feb., 2009.  He was Professor of Rural Development School of Continuing Education (SOCE), IGNOU   since May, 1992.

He  has  presented dozens of  papers in various seminars,  conferences   and workshops etc. and many of them were subsequently published in various journals in  India and  abroad  which among  others  include  ‘Training for Rural Development Professionals through Distance Mode’ in the Indian Journal of Open Learning.

A widely traveled and widely served in a host of international organizations including UNO and World Bank; etc, Prof Asalm got many national and international awards like Bangladesh Open University presented an award to  him  in 2004 in recognition for successful completion of Panchayati Raj Project in India and its proposed replication in Bangladesh.

He was also conferred, ‘Professional Excellence Award’ of Mewat Development Society by the Union Minister for Panchayats, in August, 2007. There is  a long list of awards but few are mentioned here . He also authored many a books including ‘Panchayat Raj in India’, `Integrated   Rural Development in Asia – Concept, Practice a Perspective’; and Social Implications of Technological   Changes in Rural   Areas’.     

Besides this, he also brought   significant success to the IGNOU that could vouch his mettle as good administrator and par excellence academician. The University stands at the threshold of a future envisaged to provide leadership and direction to the ODL system not only in the country but globally.  Within a short period of time Prof. Aslam was able to restore the primacy of its processes and procedures that has resulted in to following achievements:

  • Enrolment: The enrolment figures for January and July, 2014 admission cycles crossed 7, 22,000 (fresh and re-registration), a record in itself.
  • Teacher education: IGNOU took up the task to train about 24,000 in-service teachers for the Kendriya Vidhyalaya Sanghatan (KVS) and about 36,538 teachers from 5 North East States.
  • Virtual learning environment: The University has introduced online admission facility and also the NODLINET Programme for the benefit of research scholars, faculty and students, for accessing e-resources.
  • Curriculum with skill-based component: IGNOU started working on its flagship undergraduate programme (B.A. /B.Com) to blend its curriculum with skill-based component so that along with graduation, the students can have some skill competency certification to enhance their employability.
  • Enhancing Job Opportunities: A 100 % placement was achieved in January, 2014 for 48 10thpass Tribal students of Gadchiroli at District General Hospital who underwent six months IGNOU Certificate in Home Based Health Care.
  • Promoting Key Initiatives in Reaching the Unreached: For the first time IGNOU was able to generate enrolment of more than 200 rural students in district Khandwa. From a particular village called “Singot” 50 students got enrolled for Certificate in Food & Nutrition (CFN) programme.
  • Free education for Jail inmates: The number of special study Centres for education & training of Jail inmates, free of cost, was raised from 60 to 94 during 2012-14.

Despite all these achievements, Prof Aslam was sent on forced leave and he was even denied access to the inquiry report.  While observing that Prof. Aslam is a renowned personality and expert in distance mode of education, the CIC has rightly said that his reputation is at stake as people will suspect that there was something wrong.

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