ALLAMA IQBAL OPEN UNIVERSITY, ISLAMABAD

Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad

The University, with the name of People's Open University was established in June 1974 under an Act of the Parliament assented to on 22nd May 1974. It was the first institution of distance education in Asia.

The University was renamed as Allama lqbal Open University (AIOU) in 1977 on the occasion of the centenary celebrations of the birth of the great Philosopher and national poet Allama Muhammad lqbal.

The University was established as a distance education institution with the purpose to:-

- Provide educational facilities to the people who cannot leave their homes and places of job;
- Provide facilities to the masses for their educational uplift;
- Provide facilities for the training of teachers; and
- Provide education to all without any discrimination.

The Philosophical foundation of the Allama lqbal Open University lies in its "OPENNESS". This University, as a unique institution in the country, reaches the doorsteps of those who wish to broaden their horizons of Knowledge or upgrade their occupational skills while in conventional and formal system the students go to the University for Studies. Moreover this is the only university of Pakistan whose Jurisdiction touches the geographical boundaries of Pakistan.

Distance Education in Pakistan particularly suited to the female population as it provides them an opportunity to study at home. Similarly, people living in the tribal and far-flung areas where the formal education system has not reached as yet, also get an opportunity to be educated. This system is flexible in terms of age, and even time.

The University develops specialized textbooks and reading material to enable the students to study on the basis of self-learning in general education programme. To help them study at home, however, the university provides supports of radio and television programmes. University's Institute of Educational Technology produces high quality educational audio and video-cassettes, which enable the students to study at home more effectively.

Recent innovations in the field of Information Technology are making the system of distance Education even more effective. As more and more students get access to the Personal Computers and learn to use the internet, teaching through Distance Education is becoming more effective. Study Centers have been set up throughout the country to enable the students to acquire applied Training in technical and professional fields. Similarly, in the field of Teacher Education, Teaching Practice is provided in selected schools. Practical training for science students is arranged in well-equipped and well reputed laboratories of Pakistan like these of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).

The outreach system of the University in the form of its Regional Campuses/Centers is the backbone of its methodology.

The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the Chancellor of Allama lqbal Open University. The Federal Minister for Education is the pro-Chancellor and the vice-Chancellor of the University is its Principal Executive and Academic officer.

The University has produced hundreds of credit and non- credit courses for various levels of learners and are sent to the students. The provision of the specially compiled instructional material at postgraduate level is recent addition. The learning packages are not only being used by AIOU students but also those of formal system. The University has till recently, been concentrating on programmes upto degree levels it is now increasing its programmes in the field of science and technology and at postgraduate level.

The Allama lqbal Open University, being a distance education institution, relies heavily on all varieties of available media to reach its students in an effective manner, which include Correspondence materials, Radio and television, Satellite transmission, Non-broadcast media, Tutorial instruction, Face to be teaching, and Group training workshops.

Up to 2003 the university has offered 1130 courses opened 112 regional centers, register 36000 tutors and 1900 tutorial centers and enrollers 245,018 students.