Nepal Open University is established by an act of parliament in 2073 B.S. (2016) by the government of Nepal with Act No 3, 2073 approved date 2073. 03.30 B.S. This is the premier Open University in Nepal with equal in legal status to other universities in the country. The academic as well as the administrative head is the Vice-chancellor (उपकुलपति) . The Registrar (कुलसचिव) is the chief of the personnel and financial administration of the university.
The purpose of establishment of the university is to expand the access of higher education to mass people who are unreached to conventional higher/tertiary education. The university therefore now is striving to make programmes that are inclusive and relevant to the national needs of creating knowledge society and preparing youth for world of work in Nepal and equally competent for the global market. By utilizing the cutting edge information and communication technology, NOU is going to run programme in distance online learning mode. The focus of the education programme will be on science and technology, technical and vocational education, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary courses the higher education priority areas stated in higher education policy. Besides, NOU will run general and professional education programmes such as humanities and social sciences, management and public administration, education, law and other relevant areas identified from the research and development unit of the university while expanding the programmes. The courses will prepare graduates competent in self-job creation and employ in national and international job market.
In conventional university students do come to university for education, whereas NOU tries to reach to the students where they are to educate, train and validate the lived experiences through certification based on established quality standards of higher/tertiary education. The programme will be more flexible in reference to time, place and academic level of the students. There will be the provision to the students to join in the courses to reach to the level needed to meet the entry requirement for a particular education programmes. However, completion of school education is the basic requirements to enroll in the university.