Netaji Subhas Open University wins Commonwealth award

Special Correspondent

The eight-year-old university has more than 85,000 students

The varsity has 142 study centres offering 66 coursesInnovative vocational development programmes being offered

Kolkata: Netaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata, is one of the joint recipients of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Excellence in Distance Education Award for Institutional Achievement, 2006.

The award was presented on November 2 to the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Surabhi Banerjee, by COL an intergovernmental, international apex organisation for open and distance learning in 53 Commonwealth countries during the Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

The two other universities conferred the award are the University of Botswana and the University of South Pacific in the Caribbean.

Rural empowerment

"We are highly inspired by the award. It is not only an honour for this University, but also for West Bengal and the entire country," Prof. Banerjee told The Hindu here on Wednesday.

More than 85,000 students are enrolled with the eight-year-old University, which offers 66 courses and has 142 study centres.

"We in the University are aiming at rural empowerment through the use of the very sophisticated education technology," she said.

MoU signed

Among the courses on offer are innovative vocational development programmes and self-employment oriented courses.

"Memoranda of understanding have been signed for running collaboration programmes at the national level with several organisations, including the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, and the CARE Foundation, Hyderabad. ... It is one of the largest State Open Universities in the country, and we have emerged as a very modern open university," Prof. Banerjee said.

The West Bengal government recently allotted land to the University in the Salt Lake area here for setting up an "information technology-enabled campus, which will be e-governed," she added.

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