The undergraduate science programme was launched at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in 1991-92 with an enrolment of 1,210 students. The programme was well received, and enrolments increased over the years. However, the success rates have not kept pace with enrolment. In this paper, the authors report the results of an evaluation of the undergraduate Physics programme at IGNOU. The evaluation, the first of its type for this programme, adapted the major tenets of the CIPP model. The findings are based on the responses from a randomly chosen sample of 509 learners across India. The methods employed for the study include records, document, and database analysis, surveys, and case studies. Although the University has enhanced access to higher science education, the attrition rate is high (73%), and the success rate is low. The authors recommend that the University review and reorient its strategies for providing good quality, learner-centred higher education in science subjects. The programme should address the concerns of the learners about the effectiveness of the student support systems, the difficulty level, and the learner-friendliness of study materials with the goal of achieving long-term sustainability while maintaining parity with the conventional system. The need for improving the presentation of the courses and simplifying the mathematical details is emphasised.
- open learning,
- science education