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  • 7/9/2003

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU)


The Allama Iqbal Open University was established in 1974. It is first distance learning university in Asia.  The AIOU is a unique institution in the sense that its approach, philosophy, system, functions and overall structure consist of academic, operational and supporting departments.  Its main campus is situated at Islamabad while the institution has a country wide network of 37 regional campuses and more than 1700 study centers to reach the unreached.  At present, the University is offering more than 1000 courses and has a total student enrolment of 350,000 per annum from Pakistan and Middle East.

The AIOU provides a multi disciplinary education from basic to doctoral levels.  Its clientele comprises of students from all age, creed, sex, etc.  Its distance learning technique has proved very helpful for those who, due to any reason, cannot go for conventional face-to-face educational institutions.  This University is best suited for working people to provide them a

second chance

and especially for those female populations of Pakistan who cannot continue

their education due to social, cultural or financial constraints. The AIOU with its motto

Education For All

, is playing most effective role for the noble cause of spreading education throughout Pakistan and even abroad.


The Allama Iqbal Open University was established in June, 1974, with the main objectives of providing educational opportunities to masses and to those who cannot leave their homes and jobs.  In the last 25 years, the University has more than fulfilled this promise.It has opened up educational opportunities for the working people and has provided access to the females at their door steps.  It has also done pioneering work in the field of Mass Education.  It is now breaking new grounds in the fields of professional, scientific, and technical education.  It is attempting to reach out to the remotest areas of Pakistan.  It is also attempting to harness modern information Technology for spreading education in Pakistan.

The idea of Distance Education was first mooted in UK in late 60s by them Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Wilson.  He was of the view that educational opportunities must be provided to those who might have missed better education due to early employment and wish to upgrade, their knowledge and skills, in their spare times in the evenings at home.  The UK Open University was, thus established in 1969.  Since then I has become a major institution of learning in UK and has opened up opportunities for millions of working people.  The gospel of distance and Open Learning has sine then spread throughout the world.  More than sixty Open Universities are operating around the world on the basis of Distance Education.  Modern information Technology has made the task of Distance Education much easier and effective.

The AIOU, when established in 1974, was the second Open University in the world and first in Asia and Africa.  It, thus, speaks of the foresight of the policy-makers of that time.  As the last 25 years of AIOU have proved, Distance Education has opened up new opportunities for millions, particularly women, and supplemented the efforts of the federal and provincial governments in a big way and that too without becoming a burden on their resources.

The idea of Distance Education assumed greater relevance and acceptance in Pakistan due to the factors of poverty and relative deprivation of women.  The rate of literacy, incidence of dropouts, and excess to higher education is much lower in the poorer classes of Pakistan.  The incidence of poverty is much higher in the rural areas, where formal education is much less established.  The rate of literacy and education is much lower for females in Pakistan, particularly in the rural areas, due to poverty and conservative traditions.  Many conservative parents under the pressure of old age traditions do not allow their daughters to go out to the schools.  The AIOU, through its system of Distance Education has, thus, provided educational opportunities to these housebound girls and women.  This explains the reasons why the majority of the students enrolled with the University are females.


The Allama Iqbal Open University was established in June 1974 under Act No. XXXIX passed by the Parliament of Pakistan in May, 1974. It was initially named as the People’s Open University, renamed as Allama Iqbal Open University in 1977 at the eve of the first centenary of the national poet and philosopher, Allama Muhammad Iqbal. The idea of an "open university" was presented with the enunciation of broad principles in the Education Policy of 1972-80, in these words:

"Open Universities are being used in several countries to provide education and training to people who cannot leave their homes and jobs for full time studies. An open university will, therefore, be established to provide part-time educational facilities through correspondence courses, tutorials, seminars, workshops, laboratories, television and radio broadcasts and other mass communication media…."

Faculties, Academic Departments & Institute

The University has following four faculties and one institute.

Faculty of Arabic & Islamic Studies


Islamic Studies is very important and base of Education in Islamic Republic of Pakistan and no University can be completed without it. This is why from the start of AIOU, The Institute of Arabic & Islamic Studies was established in 1974.This Institute prepared and offered many courses of Islamic Studies and Arabic Language from Secondary School to Graduation level. The courses inM.Phil Islamic Studies were also started with this Institute. It also offered variety of Arabic course in which the most important course is ATTC Arabic Teachers Training Course. Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies was serving well Islamic Studies and Arabic but it was attached with Faculty of Humanities. For uplifting and improving of standard of Islamic Studies and Arabic language, The Institute of Arabic & Islamic Studies was upgraded as Faculty of Arabic & Islamic Studies in 1998 with opening of different Departments.

Islamic thought, culture& history
Qur'an and Tafseer
Hadith & Seerah
Islamic law
Comparative Religions


This faculty established in 1984 is an out growth of the Institute of Education, which came into existence in 1976 immediately after the start of the university.

It is one of the largest faculties of the university both in terms of number of courses and student enrolment. The Faculty offers variety of programs in education and training of teachers and educational professionals. These academic programs range from primary teachers training to M.Phil and Ph.D. levels and these programs have earned distinction for this university as a Faculty of Education. Different programs offered by the Faculty of Education are as under:

·M.Phil and Ph.D. programs in education with specialization in Teacher Education, Educational Planning and Management & Distance and Non formal Education.

·Master level programs in Teacher Education, Educational Planning and Management and Distance & Non Formal Education.

·M.Ed. programs in Teacher Education, Science Education, Non Formal and Distance
Education and Special Education.

·Diploma in Education with specialization of Distance & Non Formal Education and Teacher Education.

·Teacher Training Programs i.e.B.Ed. CT and PTC

·In-Service Teacher Training Program for primary and elementary school teachers

·Certificate courses in education at different levels.

Adult and Continuing Education
Science Education
Teacher Education
Distance and Non Formal Education
Special Education
Educational Planning and Management


 It was first established in 1982 with only five departments and limited number of undergraduate and basic functional courses. Over last three to four years five new departments and a range of higher degree programs are added to the portfolio of Faculty of Sciences. Most of the departments, in the Faculty, are now engaged in the development / offering of highly technical, scientific and professional programs.

Agricultural Sciences

Environmental Sciences

Home & Health Sciences

Computer Science

Engineering and Technology

Mathematics and Statistics


First established in 1981 with five departments, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities has, over the years, flourished to become, by far, the largest Faculty of the University.


Business Administration


Mass Communication

Pakistan Studies


Sociology, Social Work and Population Studies


English Language & Applied Linguistics
Iqbal studies
Pakistani Languages

Library and Information Sciences
Women Studies

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