Maulana Azad College inherits a history of progressive development since December 9, 1926, when Islamia College was founded by Lord Lytton, the then Governor of Bengal. After independence, the College was renamed as Central Calcutta College and its doors were opened to all students irrespective of caste, creed and religion. In 1960, the college was renamed as Maulana Azad College in memory of the great national leader and eminent scholar, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. From its inception, the college became an affiliate of the University of Calcutta. IGNOU study centre (2810) at Maulana Azad College has the honour of being the first study centre at West Bengal and Sikkim, where science programmes of IGNOU are also taught. The study centre is dedicated to help learners in developing analytical and communication skills, creative abilities and a sense of responsibility needed in an increasingly complex society. The centre also seeks to create an intellectual environment that enhance individual growth and support scholarly activities.
The centre is one of the finest and leading study centres of IGNOU, catering to the requirements of the learners and resolving their queries promptly. The credit for building this reputation goes to the Coordinator of the study centre, Mr. Dilip Coomer Ghose, who is one of the most experienced coordinator in IGNOU. He has been holding the post of Coordinator since 1991. He held honorary positions like Registrar at Rabindra Bharati University and Special Officer at UGC and Legal Cell Division. He has edited two books “History of India” by Rakhaldas Banerjee and “IGNOU and Science Education”; and has also authored books on IGNOU with the titles “IGNOU working- some observations” and “IGNOU study centre- a decade of progress” during his teaching career.
The study centre works efficiently each day to deliver best results by conducting open days and counseling sessions on weekends for its learners regularly. The study centre also boasts of its unique features like loan library, old question papers and assignments distribution for academic help of the learners. According to Prof. Ghose, the success rate of the centre varies from 60-70%. He acknowledges the fact that the study materials available are of high standard and are also revised in every 10 to12 years. In fact, many institutions are preparing aspirants for various competitive exams from IGNOU study material. Prof. Ghose voiced his concern mentioning that there was a time when IGNOU was launching lots of academic programmes in a quick succession but didn’t consolidate the programmes they had already activated earlier. The practice, rather, should have been that the study material be printed six months to one year before the launch of a new course.
The centre not only provides counselling but in addition also offers audio-video sessions to the learners. Besides that the study centre has satellite connection which relays important programmes from the headquarters like Ram Reddy lecture and other informational and educational programmes. Group discussions are the primary element of the counseling sessions as they kill the inhibitions within the learners. Due to these interactive sessions, often, common doubts are also addressed during these sessions. Apart from resolving academic and administrative problems of the learners, the centre also helps learners in case they face any personal problems. According to Mr. Ghose, the faculty gives sympathetic hearing to it and tries to resolve it at their end.
Prof. Ghose while talking to India Education Review confirms the nexus of private coaching centres in North Kolkata. He reveals that recently, coaching centres have started mushrooming just like in the conventional system. As there is no compulsion for attendance under ODL mode except for practical oriented courses like BCA and B.Sc. Nursing, this non attendance has been further aggravated by such coaching centres. Prof. Ghose proves his statement by mentioning that “I have personally seen the assignments of bunch of learners which are word to word same.” Therefore, the conclusion remains undoubtable that learners get feedbacks and inputs from outside source. Prof. Ghose feels that as the learners are spoon fed by these private institutes, their self confidence is hampered. In fact, the ODL system prepares an individual not for the degree but for the skill and the knowledge.
by Ezra John