Singapore's Nanyang Technological University was the only local institute to win an international commendation for its efforts that demonstrate resilience amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a release stated.
NTU received the COVID-19 Agility and Response runner-up award at the recent Duty of Care Awards organised by the International SOS Foundation.
This was a new special category at this year's Duty of Care Awards to formally recognise the most inspiring initiatives and contributions taken by an organisation in the face of the global pandemic.
The Awards were presented on September 24, 2021 in London at the Duty of Care Summit, which gathered global leaders and key decision makers to discuss trends, challenges and best practices for protecting the health, safety, security and wellbeing of their employees in a COVID-19 world.
Professor Subra Suresh, NTU president said that this award was a great credit to all the hard work by everyone at NTU who contributed to the university's safe and effective operations during the past 20 months.
“One key factor in our success in the crisis preparedness efforts was our strategic investment in digital transformation the year before the onset of the pandemic. We had carefully introduced a major digital transformation of our administrative systems and processes as part of our NTU Smart Campus vision. These investments and efforts enabled NTU to pivot relatively quickly and seamlessly to virtual and hybrid modes of work early on in the pandemic," he added.
He also commended the students' tenacity, especially the graduating Classes of 2020 and 2021, saying their perseverance and sacrifices will never be forgotten.
As a tribute to both classes, more than 80 in-person graduation ceremonies were held for them this year, involving more than 25,000 graduates and guests in total.
John Denton, Secretary General of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Head of Judges, said that NTU demonstrated very important work in taking care of the wellbeing of students, staff and faculty.
"It's nice to see that the university went above and beyond to also organise a programme for students in financial need (NTU COVID-19 Relief Package and the NTU Priorities Fund) and smart solutions to convert unused leave days into donations,” he added.
Tan Aik Na, NTU senior vice president (Administration), who chairs the task force that leads the University’s efforts in tackling the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic, said that international accolade was a testament to how the OneNTU community came together in response to the protracted global health crisis.
NTU's response in the early days of the pandemic involved a highly co-ordinated approach to ensure that precautionary safety measures were consistently implemented to facilitate the University's many complex and large operations.
These include a shift within one week from more than 1,000 in-person lessons weekly to online learning for 30,000 students in the first quarter of 2020, and the safe recall within two weeks of more than 2,000 students who were on overseas internship and exchange programmes.
The 2021 Duty of Care Awards received entries from organisations across 29 countries and 24 industries, showcasing their exceptional achievements and Duty of Care commitments in protecting their global workforce.
Winners were selected by a panel of sector-leading expert judges from a host of internationally recognised organisations, including the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA).