When I turned 50, a desire which is not typically quinquagenarian sprouted in me. I wanted to do Masters in psychology. Actually I had started reading up a bit of psychology so that I could deal better with my young students in a world whose adolescence was beginning to baffle me increasingly. As soon as I read in the newspaper that IGNOU was beginning correspondence course in MA-psychology, I joined up. I thought a university course would give shape and direction to my newfound interest.
Three years after I joined the course, having completed all the written exams successfully, I remain unable and incapable of getting a certificate from the university. IGNOU has harassed me so much with the assignments and other such out-of-the-exam-hall works that I have decided to say goodbye to the university without getting trying any further for its certificate. After all, whatever knowledge I have acquired cannot be taken away by anyone. And at this stage in my life another certificate won’t make much difference.
As I completed the first year of the course, I wrote in a blog about the unpleasant experiences I had with the assignments and the practical exam. The professor who had checked my assignments was not even aware of the marking scheme.
I completed the written exams in the minimum period of two years. I also submitted my assignments on time. Unless I had submitted them I wouldn’t have been permitted to sit for the exams in the first place. More than a year after I had submitted them the university, IGNOU, has not entered those marks in my grade card. My grade card implies that I have not submitted the assignments though I had already collected them back in due course with the marks and remarks written by the examiner.
I could have solved this problem quite easily by making a few trips to my study centre which is 25km from my residence. But I’m not going to do it. Because I won’t be able to submit the project paper, which means my course will remain incomplete technically. The guide assigned to me by the study centre never got the time to guide me. I have wasted enough time trying to meet the person and finalising my topic and the details. I can’t bring myself to wait for hours outside the office of a professor who apparently finds it hard to spare time for students of IGNOU. “Distance education should not have projects,” she told me once as if I had designed the curriculum.
I had given up the entire matter as hopeless. I had forgotten it, in fact, until I saw a report in the newspaper yesterday. “Former acting V-C of IGNOU booked,” says the headline (The Hindu, 8 March 2013). It was followed up by another report in today’s newspaper, “Former acting V-C of IGNOU dismisses allegations.” The reports are about certain corrupt practices that have allegedly taken place in the university. I don’t know whether those allegations are true, but I know that IGNOU is terribly unprofessional in conducting the course which I ventured to undertake.
I must add that I was one of the students in the very first batch of the psychology course. Maybe, the university was still learning to conduct the course. But, alas, I’m not young enough to put up with too many whims and caprices of pompous professors and dilettante clerics. The degree doesn’t really matter to me. But I wish the university does become a little more professional for the sake of those students for whom the degree does matter.
I must add one more thing (though there’s much more that I can add!). Much of the notes sent by the university are plagiarised material. I came across entire passages copied from the books by other authors that I had gone through out of personal interest. Later on I came across too many passages which were lifted verbatim from websites. The most hilarious example: there’s a topic about professional ethics of a psychological counsellor. The entire ethical code in the IGNOU notes is copied from the professional ethics of a construction company given in their website! The code speaks about using the right mix of concrete, etc! I’m not joking, dear reader. I’m sure the professors could, at the very leas,t be a little more honest about their work.