From a humble beginning over two decades ago, Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan, a Deemed to be University in Bhubaneswar known more by its acronym SOA, has emerged as a shining academic edifice which has illuminated the educational skyline in the east.
A socially-inclusive institution of higher education, focused on quality education and innovative research, SOA has been churning out professionals in varied fields who are ready to meet the requirements and challenges of different sectors.
SOA came into existence on July 17, 2007, when the Government conferred on it the status of a Deemed to be University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956. It has emerged today as a centre of superlative professional education. The university is home to more than 12,000 students, including from foreign countries, who have chosen SOA for charting out a future for themselves.
Though just over 14 years old, SOA has been continuously listed among top 25 universities in the country by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Ministry of Education – which was instituted in 2016 — for five consecutive years. In 2020, SOA was ranked 20th in the country by NIRF.
SOA was globally ranked in the 801-1000 bracket by the prestigious QS World University Ranking for 2022 after being placed in the 351-400 bracket in the QS Asia University Ranking in 2021. It was awarded Diamond University rating by QS I-GAUGE for outstanding performance in 2020. SOA was also the only institute in eastern India to get QS I-GAUGE E-LEAD (E-Learning Excellence for Academic Digitisation) for conducting online teaching-learning during the Covid-19 lockdown.
SOA found a place in the Times Higher Education (THE) World Ranking, being listed in the 1001-plus category in university rankings, while it got ranked in the 601-800 bracket in engineering and technology and computer science in 2021. SOA was ranked in 601-plus category in health sciences and was placed in 401-plus bracket in THE Asia University Rankings the same year. It was ranked in the 400 plus bracket in THE Young University Ranking and listed in 501 plus category in THE Emerging Economies University rankings in 2021.
NAAC, which has termed SOA as socially inclusive, has re-accredited it with the highest grade in recognition of its quality academic activities. Significantly, 11 of the researchers in SOA found place in Stanford University’s prestigious world ranking of two per cent scientists which was drawn up on the basis of a subject-wise analysis.
SOA offers 24 Under-Graduate and 67 Post-Graduate, 15 Post-Masters, Ph.D. and Post-Doctoral programmes in engineering and technology, management, medical sciences, dental sciences, nursing, pharmaceutical sciences, biotechnology, hospital management, hospitality and tourism management, law and agricultural sciences.
The university follows a teaching-learning process grounded on outcome and project-based learning which has been paying rich dividends as students have been receiving lucrative placement offers every year. About 91 per cent of SOA’s engineering students graduating in 2021 have received job offers in top notch companies staving off the huge worldwide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recruiters included Microsoft, Amazon, Finastra, Robert Bosch, Dell, PWC, Kloudgin, Deloitte, HP Inc, Temenos, Informatica, MAQ Software, NPCI, Salesforce and Rapyuta Robotics. Most students received multiple job offers while more than 90 companies participated in the campus recruitment.
Focused on research, the university has 7734 Scopus-indexed publications to its credit so far with h-index of 70 with publications having highest impact factor of 91.245.
SOA runs the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, its faculty of medicine, with 1600 beds which has become one of the most sought-after healthcare destinations in the east.
SOA was in the forefront in Odisha’s battle against COVID-19 when the first wave swept through the state in 2020, making exemplary contribution towards prevention and control of the pandemic. It set up four standalone COVID hospitals in Bhubaneswar, Kendrapara, Talcher and Chandpur in collaboration with the state government and ran two COVID Care Centres at Jatni and Jamujhari, accounting for 2341 beds.
When the second wave struck early in 2021, SOA established as many as five COVID hospitals at Bhubaneswar, Chandpur, Puri, Talcher and Kendrapara (besides a COVID Care Centre at Jatni), with more than 2200 beds and around 500 doctors from Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital engaged in treating the patients assisted by nurses and paramedics who worked round the clock.