The First Day…

…so to speak, for my Masters course at IGNOU.

Before I talk about the experience at IGNOU’s Mumbai Regional Centre, I must say something. I have been generally tracking the stuff that IGNOU has been doing and I have an immense respect for the organisation. There will be many posts in this category that will be critical of the processes, experiences as a student, and of the organisation in general. This however, is not to negate or belittle the effort of all the folks at IGNOU.

It is hopefully a form of feedback to IGNOU, at worst, a pure statement of what I experienced.

Back to the first day, or rather Day -2. I call up the Regional Centre, for two days, before I do get through. I say that I was told that we would get the course material by July 15th, and it’s three weeks since, and we haven’t received any intimation regarding the I-card or the course material. I am told by the quite polite lady on the other side, that the material has arrived, and we could pick up the material if we want to. I ask her, if they will be posting it to me, as was planned and expected. She acknowledges, but isn’t willing to commit the time, when it would be dispatched.

I have no idea of the schedule of either the contact centres or the exam dates, so I decide to collect the material myself. I am warned, that I will have to come in person to collect the I-Card and the course material. If I’d like someone else to pick up the material for me, I’ll have to issue an authority letter; but for the I-Card, no go. I need to be present.

IGNOU Course Material

I went today, and collected my I-Card and the course material. The entire material for the year is handed to me, about 25 slim journal-like books. Exam schedule will be sent to me I am told. When I ask about the schedule of the contact classes, I am redirected to speak with the Study Centre, a couple of suburbs away. No contact number given there. I’ll have to search for it, it seems. I relate all this to a typical government office function. But I also see the level that overwhelms them. There are about six-seven staff members (it’s not crowded), dwarfed by the material that surrounds them.

Having been exposed to and implemented process improvements at my workplace, I wonder what stops such an organisation from implementing some basic improvements. I am nearing disgust at the lack of information and the vagueness of the replies.

I look back at the heap of manual labour that these folks have to implement. I ask my disgust to disappear. I cannot be an audience to this, I am now a part of the system, I tell myself, as a stamp smudges my photo on the I-Card, and is handed over to me.

I’ll have to look at all this in a different way.


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