37 Gyanvani educational FM radio stations to be taken off air

October 13, 2014

Thousands of learners across all age groups, many of whom have no access to formal education, have been left teacherless. The All India Radio has taken off air all 37 Gyanvani educational FM radio stations, the formidable teaching tool of Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou). The varsity allegedly failed to clear the outstanding dues. The move, which came into effect on October 1, has sent shockwaves among those pursuing education through non-formal channels. A desperate Sunny Singh, a learner from New Delhi, posted on October 3 on Gyanvani's Faceook wall: 'Your station is not working. So I have a big problem sir. Please repair it quickly.' On September 12, the AIR additional director-general, in a communique sent to professor M Aslam, Ignou vice-chancellor, said all channels will be closed following non-payment of the dues, depriving lakhs of Gyanvani listeners their crucial learning resource. Conceived in 2001, the Electronic Media Production Centre (EMPC) of Ignou was the producer of an educational programme for students in English, Hindi and other local languages. AIR broadcast it every day between 6am and 11am, with a repeat one between 5pm and 10pm. The general public too could tune in. An educational FM radio network, Gyanvani aired programmes covering different aspects and levels of education. It had separate programme modules catering to the needs of people pursuing primary and secondary education, adult education, technical and vocational education, higher education and extension education. Gyanvani's plight has been blamed on the lack of coordination between the ministry of human resource development (MHRD), ministry of information & broadcasting, Prasar Bharati and Ignou. The national open university gets grants from the Centre to promote higher education. Sources in Ignou blamed it on "inefficiency on the part of the vice-chancellor. The money had to be paid but it wasn't done at the right time. The results are for everyone to see. It is rather unfortunate that listeners have to suffer".

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