I was most impressed with TNOU. With minimal, yet extremely proactive staff, the University runs a very tight shift; both the scholarship allotment process and the seminar were very well organized.
The Vice Chancellor, Dr. M.S.Palanichamy, told me that for the 2007-08 Session, the State Government and the DEC together have increased their grants for the University to about INR 80 Million as well as allocated land for a new campus - TNOU is at the cusp of a major expansion of its programmes. The Chief Guest, Prof. Ramanujam, who is currently a Director at IGNOU, briefed the students about SAARC and its members. Towards the end of his discussion he also provided some “capacity building” pointers for TNOU to keep in mind at their up and coming expansion. All addresses were given in Tamil, and Professor Murugan, the SAF Coordinator for the University, graciously translated my address into Tamil for the audience. Almost all 200 SAF Scholarship awardees showed up, most were girls, and many of them had come from far away places like Pondicherry, and Tsunami affected areas.
It was really amazing for me to see how many of the young women had traveled so far, some even with their new born children to receive their scholarship cheques. Dr. Palanichamy knew the names of all the students by name, and personally introduced me to each one.