Port Blair, Oct. 29: Openness and flexibility have always been a prominent feature of any ODL system, but success of this learners’ friendly system also depends upon learners attitude towards it. Especially in the case of elderly people between, the age group of 60 years and above. But, when a person is determined to achieve something, age does not matter. It turned into reality when a 77 years old candidate appeared in M.Phil./ Ph.D. entrance examination at Indira Gandhi National Open University headquarters. The candidate Mr. Binay Kumar who comes far from Patna to take the test has already completed successfully the Post Graduate in Distance Education (PGDDE) and Master of Arts in Distance Education (MADE) from Staff Training and Research Institute of Distance Education (STRIDE), IGNOU.

Surprisingly, septuagenarian Mr. Kumar was not alone at the examination centre, there were about 10 more aspirants in 55-65 age group who turned up to take the entrance examination this year. But Mr. Kumar was the eldest among all of them and as serious as his younger competitors. 1936 born, Mr. Binay Kumar, spent more than 30 years of his life in government job and retired from the service in 1994. He worked as a research officer (Statistics) in Department of Animal Husbandry, Government of Bihar. When he was asked, what were the motivating factors which forced him to take test for the admission in Ph.D. in Distance Education, Kumar replied, “I had attended 13th conference of Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) held in Delhi in 1994 as a common participant. The theme of the conference was ‘Structure and Management of Open Learning System’. After attending the deliberations during the various technical sessions I realized that the theme of the conference was similar to my spiritual organization which focuses on better life and education for all. At the same conference I decided to pursue higher education which is a best mode to provide education to all sections of the society at affordable cost.”

I want to study further because, “It helps you in maintain regularity and discipline in your daily life; apart from this I believe in life-long learning process,” adds Mr. Kumar.

This ambitious person lives in Shri. Krishna Nagar locality in Patna, and has four well settled sons and two daughters. One of the sons is doctor, another lawyer; third one is working with the Punjab National Bank while the fifth one is settled in Canada. Both the daughters are post graduate, teaching in government high schools. Growing interests of elderly people towards various academic programmes of the University is result of IGNOU’s continuous mission to build an inclusive knowledge society through inclusive education. This shows not only the importance of unique feature of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) system but it also demonstrates growing popularity of research degree programmes offered by IGNOU.