SOA to introduce micro-credential courses for skill and knowledge enhancement

Bhubaneswar: Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA), which completed 16 years of its existence as a top ranked Deemed to be University on Monday, will be introducing niche courses suitable for selected groups of professionals to further enhance their skill, knowledge and competence.

The focus will be on micro-credentials, a short, competency-based recognition which would allow the learner to demonstrate mastery in a particular area, Prof. (Dr.) Amit Banerjee, Chancellor of SOA, said while releasing the second volume of ‘SOAFAL MALA’ — a compilation of 25 online lectures on popular topics delivered by eminent personalities in the SOA Fortnightly Academic Lecture (SOAFAL) series during 2022-23.

Stating that such courses were in vogue in the USA, Prof. (Dr.) Banerjee said students who had graduated from a university or institution could return to their alma mater to pursue such courses.

The first volume of ‘SOAFAL MALA’, comprising 25 lectures, was published earlier. The speakers drawn from diverse fields including doctors, scientists, academicians, social activists, spiritual leaders, diplomats and administrators had delivered the lectures on different topics.

Prof. (Dr.) Ashok Kumar Mahapatra, Principal Advisor to SOA on Health Sciences, who had conceived the idea of fortnightly lecture series when he was the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Pradipta Kumar Nanda, Vice-Chancellor of SOA and Prof. Nachieketa K. Sharma, Director, University Outreach Program and Editor of the commemorative volumes, were present.

Prof. Vijay Sakhuja, former Director of National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi, who was present at the book release event, further elaborated on micro-credentials saying it was an academic instrument which could potentially enhance the vertically specialized knowledge obtained by business professionals. Those in administrative services and entrepreneurs could return back to academia and learn special skills which could help them to excel in the field they were engaged in, he said.

The more suitable destinations for such activity should be their alma mater—university or institution– which would offer them conducive environment in terms of academic life and professional development, Prof. Sakhuja, who had delivered the first SOAFAL lecture of the third series on Integrated National Maritime Studies, said.

Prof. Banerjee said the third cycle of SOAFAL was focusing on Integrated Maritime Studies. He said SOA had been ranked the 15th best university in the country this year but it could not rest on its laurels and should move forward.

Three other eminent persons, Prof. Harihar Panda, former Professor of National Defence Academy, Prof.  Ajit M. Srivastava, former Professor at the Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar and Dr. Subhendu Patnaik, former Director of the Pathani Samanta Planetarium at Bhubaneswar, who were among SOAFAL speakers, also addressed the gathering.

Prof. Nanda, in his concluding remarks, hailed the SOAFAL initiative saying it was enabling the students and faculty to expand their horizon. Prof. Sharma welcomed the guests and outlined the SOAFAL initiative.