Indira Gandhi National Open University came into being on September 20, 1985, by an Act of Parliament (1985) to achieve the following objectives:
- Democratizing higher education by taking education to the doorsteps of the learners;
- Providing access to high quality education to all those who seek it irrespective of age, region or formal qualifications;
- Offering need-based academic programmes by giving professional and vocational orientation to the courses;
- As an apex body, setting and maintaining standards in distance education in the country.
The University offers about 138 programmes and has a network of 58 Regional Centers and 1804 study centers to support academic counselling of students. Besides national network coverage, some of the programmes are offered in 46 other overseas centers especially in Asia and Africa . Multi-Media learning through self-instructional illustrated print materials, audiocassettes, video programmes, phone-in radio counselling and teleconferencing form the package of delivery for distance education. IGNOU is the nodal point for Gyan Darshan - the educational TV channel, Gyan Vani FM Radio Stations and the EDUSAT, a dedicated satellite for education.