The Allama Iqbal Open University was established in 1974 under an Act of parliament. It was the second open university of the world and the first of its kind in Asia and Africa when it was established. Now more than 60 such universities are providing distance education and it is among the 4 top mega universities of the world. The aim of establishing AIOU was to provide affordable and accessible education through distance learning at the door-steps to those people who could not continue their studies through formal system of education. The University (AIOU) operates on semester system and enroll students in Autumn and Spring semesters. Under-graduate admissions are offered in both the semester whereas post-graduate courses are offered once a year. The enrolled students are given course books, audio video cassettes, specially prepared by the university based on self instructional principles. However, at the post-graduate level, reprints of foreign books, allied material along with study guides help students to polish their skills.
The Bureau for University Extension and Special Programmes (Projects) (BUESP) offers Short Term Educational Programmes (STEPs), a novel study plan for those who want to improve their capabilities and skills in the given disciplines at any time, at any place, at their convenience and at their pace. Whether some one is in pursuit of knowledge or want to know the basics, there is a study plan for the concerns.