Sambalpur: The Odisha State Open University, set up by an act of legislature in 2015, has established itself as a pre-eminent centre of education.
In 2016-17, its first academic year, the varsity enrolled 1,600 students, which has shot up to 3,000 this year.
At present, the university is functioning on the Gangadhar Meher University campus here. The state government has provided a suitable plot on the outskirt of Sambalpur for the construction of university building and its campus.
The emphasis of the institute is on education, research, training and capacity-building, including the use of new educational technology, at an affordable cost. "We strongly believe that the next generation will depend on mobile devices for learning. Keeping this in mind, we have developed a mobile app to ease the access of information," vice chancellor Sitakant Mohapatra said.
Apart from education and research, the university emphasises on skill-based vocational courses for employment opportunities.
It aims to make positive contributions to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education in the state, create a state-wide network of skill development centres. It plans to create university-industry interface in skill-based education and promote inclusiveness in higher education by targeting women, SCF/ST, physically-challenged and other unprivileged social groups.
The university has signed an MoU with the Commonwealth of Learning, Canada to develop a course in diploma in multimedia and animation.
It has also signed an MoU with the Indira Gandhi National Open University for developing e-content.
The varsity also plans to sign an MoU with the Uttarakhand Open University and the Netaji Subhas Open University, Sharma said.
"I am proud to be a member of the board of management of the varsity. The university is getting popular and many people are interested to join it. This will be one of the best universities of the nation," retired professor Antarjyami Panda said.