The COVID-19 pandemic forced educational institutes in India and around the world to opt for other means to continue and finish their syllabi, conduct examinations and classes, etc.
Schools, colleges, universities and institutes, were forced to be closed since the middle of March, across the country. This sudden interruption in the academic term compelled them to switch to virtual or online modes of education.
The pandemic can be said to be a test for institutes against their readiness to sudden changes and adapting capabilities to newer technologies and methods. One institution that soared in these conditions is UPES.
Online education became their top priority and, almost overnight, they equipped themselves with robust technology like ‘Blackboard’ and more than 500 members of its faculty were trained to facilitate the process in the best way they can. Their academic calendar proceeded as planned and this is how:
UPES prioritised the future of the students, with the belief that their academic calendar should not be disrupted. They ensured that the examinations should be held in a timely manner so that they can get their degrees on time and move on towards building their careers as planned.
Around 85 per cent of the students have successfully appeared for their exams while the remaining will do the same via online examinations that will be conducted on the last week of July.
Akshay Tyagi, a 4th-year student of Mobile Computing at UPES said, “I want to thank the university for giving us the opportunity to appear for online exams. It was convenient and totally hassle-free. Just goes to show how forward-thinking and progressive an institution it is, standing by the students in the hour of need.”
Kumar Shivansh, a final-year student of BBA Digital Marketing at UPES said, “These are difficult times, but even in this extreme situation, the university has been going all out to ensure that we get our degrees on time and start our professional journey without any academic backlog. I’m really grateful for the concern they have shown in this crisis.”
Placements and Internships
Most institutes in the country are facing a major issue with placements and internship plans. The Career Services Team at UPES has managed to secure around 2,400 internships, online, in this crisis.
The internships are a little different this time, that is, it is mix of online and offline or on-field modes pertaining to the present restrictions. The students will be mentored by industry heads and supervised by the internal faculty at UPES.
Around 88 per cent of the final year students have already been placed at reputed organisations, and the remaining are still undergoing online interviews. There has been 100 per cent placement in the School of Design, 99 per cent in the School of Computer Science and the highest package awarded has been recorded at Rs 44 lakhs, per annum.
Optimised Online Learning
To ensure that classes and the education process should not be compromised, UPES has taken some rigorous steps such as about 11,000 students are participating in regular online classes. The faculty at the institute conducts around 500 online sessions every day.
Additionally, they have also partnered with Coursera to provide about 3,900 online courses for their students for free. They are constantly updating and enriching their e-library resources to provide as much material as possible for their students.
Bridging the gap
They have conducted about 150 masterclasses in the last few months with notable speakers including:
- Padma Bhushan, Dr Jagdish N. Sheth: Professor of Marketing, Emory University, USA.
- Roger Hunter: Program Manager, NASA
- Hari Ramasubramanian: IBM Innovation Centre for Education
- Padma Shri A.S. Kiran Kumar: Ex-Chairman, ISRO, Ex-Secretary, Dept. of Space, Member, Space Commission
- Dr Hsing-Pang Hsieh: Research Fellow/Deputy Director Biomedical Translation Research Center (BioTReC) Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
- Dr Lily Hui-Ching Wang: Associate Professor, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology & Department of Medical Science National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan
- Pradyumna Vyas: Senior Advisor, Design & Innovation, CII, Board of Director, World Design Organization, Former Director, National Institute of Design
- Stefan Bordignon: Alias Designer, Bugatti
- Poonam Verma: Partner, Jyoti Sagar & Associates
- Sidharth Luthra: Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India; and
- Dr Anirudh Rajput: Member, UN International Law Commission.
UPES has been a forerunner in the education department during this pandemic and they continue to be so.
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Source-The Times of India