At a time when COVID-19 has thoroughly shaken up the education sector and forced institutions to devise ways and means of grappling with the pandemic, the O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has become the first Indian university to receive E-Learning Excellence for Academic Digitisaton (E-LEAD) Certification from the coveted QS IGAUGE for E-learning excellence.
After a detailed audit, QS IGAUGE has certified JGU as a globally recognised and benchmarked higher education institution to offer online education programmes. This important certification places JGU as a leading university, which has the transformational technological ability and platforms to conduct academic programmes online. Online classes and E-learning need to be benchmarked with the best in global practices and this certification ensures that JGU is meeting exceptional teaching parameters and offers the best and engaging solution to its students.
The Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Hon’ble Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank will be the Chief Guest at a virtual event being held today to unveil and present E-LEAD certificates to the institutions that have successfully completed an audit. The Secretary General of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), Professor (Dr.) Pankaj Mittal will be the Guest of Honour on the occasion.
QS IGAUGE is the Indian arm of global rankings and ratings agency QS, which established the E-LEAD: E-Learning Excellence for Academic Digitisation. QS IGAUGE deployed its outstanding global resources to create a global best practises document and methodology, with an aim to do a readiness check of institutions in India in adopting technology and technology-enabled services for online teaching.
“I am delighted that O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) has received the E-LEAD Certification from QS IGAUGE. This is a remarkable recognition that has come at a time when online education is not just an option to consider for universities, but is an inevitable necessity to do justice to the goals and aspirations of the students. Online education and digital learning opportunities have the ability to contribute towards democratisation of the higher education system with strong emphasis on quality, accessibility, inclusivity, and excellence. This international recognition for JGU ensures that current and future students of JGU can benefit from the QS IGAUGE E-LEAD Certification that the institution is ready to continue offering programmes online, while maintaining the highest standards of excellence. But it is important to recognise that the focus on online education and digital readiness transcends the current global pandemic crisis and Indian universities need to be significantly empowered to develop online education through blended learning platforms that will promote flexibility, innovation, freedom and adaptability to all forms of learning ecosystems. This is going to the the future of higher education, both during and after COVID-19,” said Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University.
“The methodology, data collection & validation, audit process, quality check and delivery mechanism have been thoroughly reviewed by experts from the higher education domain,” said Dr. Ashwin Fernandes, Regional Director – South Asia, Middle East & Africa, QS Quacquarelli Symonds & CEO, QS-ERA India Pvt. Ltd.
Commenting on this development, Registrar, JGU, Professor (Dr.) Y.S.R. Murthy said, “JGU has always tried to benchmark its teaching, learning and quality assurance systems with the best available ones in the world. It is heartening to see that JGU faculty members have quickly adapted to the current lockdown situation and embraced the online education in a big way.”
Professor Arjya B. Majumdar, Dean, Admissions and Outreach, JGU remarked, “This is truly a pathbreaking development in Indian higher education. This will certainly provide considerable assurance as to the quality and equivalence of online education at JGU, to students and parents as they prepare to enter universities in 2020.”
“JGU was prepared to handle the unanticipated and complete immersion into virtual learning and online teaching. Due to our strong academic and digital infrastructure, we are delivering over 400 courses online, which involves a live engagement of almost 28,000 hours between our students and faculty this summer,” said Professor (Dr.) Ashish Bharadwaj, Chair of JGU PIVOT Taskforce, which is JGU’s Planned Intervention towards Virtual Learning and Online Teaching.
Mr. Karan Kumar, Head of IT Department at O.P. Jindal Global University said, “We are very excited to receive the QS IGAUGE E-LEAD Certification. The key process of promoting effective online learning involved transforming the user journey of students and faculty members from a physical classroom to an online platform, ensuring a seamless transition. The online system required video connectivity for video and audio conferencing for groups and individuals with online direct messaging, and resource sharing from any access point like phones, laptops or handheld tablets. With captive student data, we set up the virtual technology infrastructure expeditiously and efficiently with complete data protection. The digital support system for students transitioning to online classes meant that we had to ensure that every student was able to access the system effortlessly and we achieved our objective in a very short period through prompt assistance matched with an advanced technological set-up. While this may have been useful for the current situation, we see this as a long term and sustainable model for higher education.”
Director, Office of Digital Learning & Online Education, JGU, Professor Jeremy Wade said, “Receiving the QS IGAUGE E-LEAD certificate demonstrates JGU’s ability to adapt quickly and achieve academic continuity for students with online courses. Faced with the possibility that students may not be allowed on campus for an extended time, universities must reimagine the entire student learning experience from a digital perspective. JGU has established a new Office of Digital Learning & Online Education, to lead a digital strategy to transform the teaching and learning opportunities online in response to Covid-19 and to build an institutional vision for the future digital transformation of global higher education.”
QS IGAUGE launched E-LEAD programme in the backdrop of current developments in the past six months. Under the threat of Covid-19, India has made significant technological advancements in the space of e-learning as Indian institutions never imagined the need to go 100% online. The administration of many institutions were hit hard when they were faced with immediate closure and the need to transform hundreds of their brick and mortar classrooms to online virtual ones. Institutions have immediately made plans to continue teaching through innovative methods online which necessitated the need for benchmarking.