Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), has been chosen by the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) as the recipient of the AAOU Meritorious Service Award 2021.
The AAOU Meritorious Service Award is given to recognize outstanding services and contributions to open and distance education. The AAOU Executive Committee selected the recipient of this award based on dedication, effort and contributions upon recommendations by the AAOU Adjudication Committee. The Award comprises a citation and a plaque as symbols of acknowledgement presented by the AAOU President to the recipient during the annual conference.
The AAOU Meritorious Service Award was presented by AAOU President, Prof. Ojat Darojat, Rector of Universitas Terbuka, to Chancellor Bandalaria during the 34th AAOU Annual Conference held on 1-3 June 2021. The AAOU conference this year is hosted by the Sri Lanka Open University and is the first hybrid conference held by the organization.
Dr. Bandalaria is a staunch advocate of open and distance elearning. Even before her Chancellorship, she has been engaged and has led various projects and programs to advance open and distance elearning in the Philippines and in Asia. She is well associated with the offering of free massive open online courses or MOOCs. Chancellor Bandalaria is also known for her leadership in open education initiatives, being the Chair of the Asian MOOCs Steering Committee, and the Co-Chair of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Dynamic Coalition Advisory Board on Quality, Inclusive Multilingualism. Dr. Bandalaria is also the current International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) Ambassador for OER and has also been appointed as a member of the ICDE OER Advisory Committee (OERAC). She served as President of the AAOU from 2017-2019.
Indeed, receiving the AAOU Meritorious Award is well-deserved. Padayon, Chancellor Mel!