SMU-DE: A Modest Beginning, Blooming Present and a Blazing Future

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Once in a while comes about an institution that believes in trudging along the path to the unknown and in its endeavor to do so breaks away from the tried and tested creating new boundaries of excellence. Sikkim Manipal University Distance Education is one such institute. Conceived as the first PPP model coming out of Northeast India and born out of a unique partnership between Manipal Education and Govt. of Sikkim in 1995, SMU-DE has since revolutionised not just the domain of distance learning but has also brought about a new era of practical industry oriented teaching.

In a country where since decades theory based education has been given sole importance as the world moved ahead of us, the approach by SMU-DE turned out to be a much needed shot of life improving vaccine. So heavily has our education system relied on theory that once the much famed IITs, recognized among the top 10 educational institutes in the world now fail to locate themselves even among the top 50. But the road for SMU-DE has not been smooth. After all, decades of habit had seeped deep into the veins of the education sector. But perseverance, patience and excellence over the last 15 years is now beginning to yield results. A testimony to the grit and vision of this pioneering institution.

SMU-DE is now the best distance education institute in India in terms of teaching efficiency and achieving results. The rankings out in the Hindustan Times also puts SMUDE as the third best distance learning institute in the country and the only one among the top three which is not an open university. ‘It’s a PPP model that works’ screamed an headline on another page of the Careers 360 magazine, indicating the path travelled by SMU-DE over the years.

Today SMU-DE offers more than 40 courses in 11 disciples spread across Management, Hospitality, IT, Telecom, Commerce, Journalism, Fashion Designing, Networking, Health Sciences and Biotechnology. Supported by 6,500 faculty and 65 core faculty, a network of 325 University Recognized Learning centers spread across 310 towns and an alumni base of 3 lakhs, it would easily have one the best prize if there was one for the quickest growing institute in India. The institute has also excelled in the integration of technology with education through its introduction of EduNxt, this multi award winning Internet based Learning Platform allows students to access faculty mentors, industry experts, counseling, virtual classrooms, self-learning materials and over a million journals over the Internet. Mock tests, videos, presentations and case studies are updated real time on this platform helping students to stay in sync with the industry. All this can be done 24x7 helping students to plan their studies beforehand. Moreover students can collaborate with their classmates and lectures on projects and assignments by just being on the web.

Any other institute in this position would have probably reached its burnout stage by now. But SMU-DE is in a different league. Its hunger for excellence and its constant endeavor to ensure education for all sees it launch a minimum of 1 new course every year, year on end. Along with new initiatives to increase its efficiency, reach and resources, SMU-DE has won the hearts of top corporate firms and its mentors. SMU-DE students work for the best public and private companies like Infosys, Wipro, Microsoft, IBM, HCL, Dabur, ICICI Bank.

SMU-DE is a vital cog in the wheel of India’s aim to achieve maximum literacy levels by 2020. A fact reiterated by the HRD Minister himself when he mentioned the importance of distance learning institutes vis a vis Indian literacy levels. The future too seems brighter than ever before. With the corporate world wanting only work ready skill oriented professionals from the first day itself and the spread of Internet in the Indian society, SMU-DE stands as the only institute which believes and practices in both of them. Over the coming years one would see SMU-DE scaling new heights, widening its resources and base and eventually creating the unknown path that it set out for so that others can follow.

SMUDE (talk)16:20, 18 August 2010