The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Hindi: इन्दिरा गांधी राष्ट्रीय मुक्त विश्वविद्यालय is a national university with its headquarters in New Delhi, Delhi, India. Named after former Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, the university was established in 1985 when the Parliament of India passed the Indira Gandhi National Open University Act, 1985 (IGNOU Act 1985) .
IGNOU; generally considered one of the largest universities in the world ; was founded to impart education by means of distance and open education, provide higher education opportunities particularly to the disadvantaged segments of society, to encourage, coordinate and set standards for distance and open education in India and strengthen the human resources of India through education
Apart from teaching and research, extension and training form the mainstay of its academic activities. It also acts as a national resource centre, and serves to promote and maintain standards of distance education in India. IGNOU hosts the Secretariats of the SAARC Consortium on Open and Distance Learning (SACODiL) and the Global Mega Universities Network (GMUNET) initially supported by UNESCO.
In 1989, the first Convocation was held and more than 1,000 students graduated and were awarded their diplomas. IGNOU audio-video courses were first broadcasted by radio and television in 1990 and IGNOU awarded degrees received full recognition by the University Grants Commission in 1992 as being equivalent to those of other universities in the country.In 1999, IGNOU launched the first virtual campus in India , beginning with the delivery of Computer and Information Sciences courses via the Internet.
IGNOU is granted the authority to confer degrees by Clause 5(1)(iii) of the IGNOU Act 1985. IGNOU is also recognised as a Central University by the University Grants Commission of India . The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) recognises IGNOU conferred degrees as on par with the degrees conferred by its members   and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) recognises the Master of Computer Applications and Master of Business Administration program of IGNOU.
In 1993, IGNOU was designated by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) as its first Centre of Excellence for Distance Education empowered "to actively participate in Commonwealth co-operative endeavours to identify, nurture, and strengthen open learning institutions throughout the Commonwealth, particularly in the Third World
IGNOU also operates as an accreditor for open university and distance education systems in India through the Distance Education Council (DEC). Authority to do so is granted under Clause 16 and Statute 28 of the IGNOU Act 1985 .
Scholarships are grant-in-aid to a student who wants to pursue education at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Delhi