Uttarakhand Open University continuously needed to innovate in various ways in order to:
- reach the unreached, difficult, and distant topographical terrains of the State;
- provide skill oriented education to learners;
- establish its regional infrastructure and LSCs in various strategic locations;
- innovate in terms of special counseling sessions at various locations, and,
- introduce research studies in-tune with the PhD Regulations in the campus.
Thus, innovations were attempted in almost all the important areas from the beginning itself. However, the Innovation Cell per-se was established later, but the innovative practices continued all-through. A brief description of the above mentioned areas is given below:
Reach the Unreached, difficult, and distant topographical terrains of the State: Uttarakhand is a hill state located in a difficult terrain and it is difficult to reach the learners located in the border and tribal areas of the State. Accordingly, the University sent groups of academics to different locations to identify as to how the mantle of higher education could be taken to these areas. On the basis of these visits LSCs were identified and the local educators were persuaded to work for it in collaboration with the University. Thus, the first important innovation which the University did was to take the learning at the door-steps of the learners (शिक्षा आपके द्वार). This slogan gradually yielded the desired results but initially it was a difficult job to convince the educators and the learners about the genuineness of ODL mode of instruction. Thus, the first innovation of reaching the relevant stakeholders in distant and neglected areas of the state could be implemented by the University.
Providing skill oriented education to learners:It was a challenge under the ODL mode of instruction and therefore, the University had to innovate a strategy to establish liaison between the providers and local industry of the region. Our continuous persuasion followed by the visits of our representative to the offices of the local industries helped us to arrive at a policy whereby, tri-partite MOUs were entered into amongst the University, the Industry, and the technical education providers. Accordingly, industries like TATA Motors, Ashoka Leyland, TVS, Maruti Suzuki were some of the leading industries with whom the collaborationwere initiated. It proved to be a very successful practice in view of the following;
- Preparedness and initial grooming of identified learners was done at a LSC operated by the Technical education providers.
- Industry gave a stipend ranging from Rs 6000 to Rs 12000 p.m. to the learners during their stay in the industry.
- The learners got the hands-on experience of the work environment, work culture and actual work in the automobile industry.
- These learners were promoted to the diploma level or advanced diploma level in a selective manner (based upon their performance in the industry), and,
- Majority of learners were absorbed by the partner industries shops, workshops, etc., of the above mentioned partner units of the main industry.
This innovation was also very successful and it helped many young learners to find suitable learning, grooming and employment after completion of skill oriented education from UOU.
Establish its regional infrastructure and LSCs in various strategic locations: The representatives of the University visited various Post Graduate colleges of the Govt. of Uttarakhand and after a careful planning it was decided by the Recognition Board of the University to establish 08 regional centers of the University in different strategic locations of the state,viz., Pithoragarh, Ranikhet, Bageshwar, and Haldwani in Kumaun Division and Uttarkashi, Pauri, Rookee and Dehradun in Garhwal Division of the state with ……… LSCs. This strategic innovation helped us to reach even the remotest, marginalized and tribal areas of Uttarakhand. Later, in view of the ODL Regulation 2017 and its Amendments, number of LSCs was restricted to …………, but the Regional Centers are still continuing to offer their services to the University and to the ODL.
Innovating in terms of special counseling sessions at various locations: It was a unique innovation of the University wherein the University organizes especial counseling sessions at different locations under the domain of UOU. Accordingly, academics of the University visited different Regional Centers and arranged especial counseling sessions for the learners. With prior information on the website of the University and at the e-mail addresses of the learners, good response could be generated. Very soon it became a very popular practice and in some programmes of the study, these special counseling session were made mandatory in view of the requirements of the said programmes. Thus, in Yoga and Science programmes practical sessions were organized by the academics of the University at different locations to enable the learners to participate in these practical and theory classes. It created a bond between the University and its learners and it has continuously been spreading positively amongst the other prospective learners.
Introduce research studies in-tune with the PhD Regulation (UGC’s) in the campus: After enactment of the Research Regulations of the UGC, the University prepared the design of its course-work for different programmes and in-house classes were arranged for the scholars enrolled in different Ph.D. programmes. This face-to-face counseling is of the duration of 06 months and after successful completion of course-work,the research studies of the concerned research scholars begin in guidance of their research supervisors in the concerned Departments. This in-house counselling includes face-to-face lectures, Webinars, Virtual Counseling, mentoring and software based interactions. Student’s Information System (SIS):
Accordingly, over the period of time UOU has taken many innovative initiatives by providing access to diversified groups of learners of Uttarakhand.