The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and the India branch (Mumbai) of Orlando based American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AH&LEI) have tied up to start a 'School of Tourism and Hospitality Service Sectoral Management (SOTHSSM)'. The School is foraying into hospitality programmes as well. Both the tourism, as well as hospitality courses will be imparted via a mixture of online, face-to-face and the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode. The range of new courses in hospitality will be offered spanning the line fromCertificate to Ph.D. levels. An integrated five year Ph.D. programme in hospitality will be on offer from the January 2009 session as will a bridge course for Diploma holders to enable them join the a PG programme, besides an already launched BA-IHA programme.

Academic courses have been divided into two parts - Hospitality Administration and Tourism. IGNOU has tied up with 45 institutions for the hospitality segment, of which 28 are Special Programme Centres (SPCs) having infrastructure and facilities to educate, train and groom young professionals for the job-market. Says department coordinator, K.V.Simon, "The growth in hospitality activities during the past few years has been huge. I believe we will need over a million of hospitality professionals in next 10 years and we will groom them to become world-class professionals."

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