(20-21 March 2014)
Wawasan Open University hosted a three-member delegation from India to its main campus to learn about the rigorous quality assurance standards and practices adopted in the University’s course development and delivery, including learner support and academic administration. The visit was sponsored by the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA), New Delhi.
The delegation was led by Prof Vinay Kumar Pathak, Vice Chancellor of Vardhaman Mahaveer Open University, Rajasthan. The other members were Mr Binod Kumar Bhadri, Assistant Educational Advisor from Ministry of Human Resources Development, India, and Prof Manjulika Srivastava from Distance Education Bureau, University Grant Commission.
The team met with the WOU Vice Chancellor and other senior management on the first day. They were keen to find out about WOU’s quality assurance practices in academic management and operations, namely course development and delivery.
Mr Bhadri acknowledged that ODL is an effective mode of education, but that quality is important. “Stakeholders should feel that they get quality education from ODL universities. I find some ODL programmes to be better than formal education but then people’s perception is important, they need to see the quality of ODL.”
Prof Manjulika shared on the function of the Distance Education Bureau in regulating institutions and ensuring that programmes meet the required standards to remove negative biasness among employers in India. “We want to study the QA practices and standards that universities follow in Malaysia.” She noted that the lack of regulations in India in the past had led to substandard programmes being offered.
The team had a two-day interaction with the Deans and senior academic/academic support staff, during which they were briefed on the development and delivery of ODL programmes, and how quality is assured in every aspect of the processes. The delegation was exposed to WOU’s learner support services, including the digital library and WawasanLearn, and the academic administration undertaken by Registry.
Prof Mohandas Menon, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic-OCL) who coordinated the visit, stated that this was part of the ongoing cooperation between CEMCA and WOU. He said, “CEMCA is keen to send study teams from other Commonwealth countries in Asia to WOU as it is generally acknowledged that there is lot to learn from the experience of WOU which has developed in a few years into an ODL institution of quality using latest technologies and innovations to reach out to large number of learners. Institutions from other countries are also showing interest to have study attachments at WOU. Efforts will be made to enhance effectiveness of such study tours and attachments.”