Collaboration Between Open Universities in the Commonwealth: Successful Production of the First Ever Sri Lankan Nursing Graduates at the Open University of Sri Lanka by Distance Education

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF1 // Nurses have been produced in large numbers in Sri Lanka for many years by the government run Nursing Schools spread throughout the country. They are awarded a Basic Certificate in Nursing after three years of study. A few of them have been able to proceed on to follow a course leading to a Post-basic Diploma in Nursing with specialization in a particular branch of Nursing. // A paltry number of registered nurses working within the government sector have also been able in the past to proceed abroad to follow a degree programme in Nursing mainly in India. However, the opportunities available to obtain a degree in Nursing even through this limited mechanism have now decreased to almost zero. // Meanwhile the demand for qualified nurses (including nursing graduates) in the country has increased considerably in recent times particularly with the opening of a number of private hospitals and health care centres. A similar dearth of para-medical personnel exists in other areas such as Radiographers, Pharmacists and Physiotherapists. The number of such para medics who are now able to proceed abroad to obtain a degree in any of these areas has once again been very meagre. // Consequently, apart from Medical Officers who command a very high premium and standing within the professional sector in Sri Lanka, the concept of producing graduates in the para medical fields such as Nursing, Radiography, Pharmacy & Physiotheraphy in Sri Lanka has been given very low emphasis with an almost lack of encouragement from the entrenched medical profession. The development and furtherance of the professions of Nursing, Radiography, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy has hardly ever been given any serious consideration. // For example, vested interests within the medical fraternity have been able to prevent the establishment of a Nursing Council for Sri Lanka although the relevant legislation was passed many years ago. Consequently, the Sri Lankan Medical Council continues to function as the registering and monitoring authority for para medical personnel such as Nurses in Sri Lanka. // Consequently, hardly any positive progress had been made upto the early nineties to formulate and present a degree programme in Nursing in any Sri Lankan University although there has been a persistent demand from Registered Nurses. //

Sri Lanka