Bhubaneswar, May 14: Amidst the upheaval caused by COVID-19 in the education sector, the Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) Deemed to be University here has emerged as the only university in eastern India to receive the E-Learning Excellence for Academic Digitisation (E-LEAD) certification from QS IGAUGE for excellence in online education.
The certification has come at a time when Indian institutions, which never thought there would ever be a situation when they would need to adopt technology and technology enabled services for online teaching, were forced to devise means to cope with the situation under the threat of COVID-19.
QS—the global rankings and ratings agency, through its India arm QS IGAUGE, had created a global best practices document and methodology for conducting an audit of online education programmes of Indian institutions which were forced to make plans to continue teaching through innovative methods online.
SOA featured in the list of 12 chosen institutions of higher education at a virtual event which was held on Thursday in which Union minister for Human Resource Development Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ unveiled and presented the E-LEAD certificates. It was the only institution from eastern India to receive the certification.
SOA had switched over to online teaching as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic brought life to a standstill in March last following the imposition of countrywide lockdown deploying innovative methods using technology to continue classes.
SOA Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ashok Kumar Mahapatra thanked QS for the honour saying the university had reverted to online teaching immediately after the lockdown was imposed. “Our faculty members are prepared to conduct exams online if the need arises,” he said.
Prof. Pankaj Mittal, Secretary General of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) attended the programme as Guest of Honour while Dr. Ashwin Fernandes, Regional Director, South Asia, QS, introduced the QS IGAUGE E-LEAD concept. The methodology, data collection, validation, audit process, quality check and delivery mechanism had been thoroughly reviewed by experts from the higher education domain, Dr. Fernandes said.