Open and Distance Learning (ODL) for the World of Work and Economic Development: The First M.Sc. Programme of the Science Faculty at the Open University of Sri Lanka

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF2 // The Science Faculty of the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) pioneered one of the earliest Science Degree Programmes through Open and Distance Learning when it commenced in 1984 a very successful and popular B.Sc. programme. This programme which has received regular support, encouragement and assistance from the United Nations Development Programme and The Commonwealth of Learning has enabled over 1500 B.Sc. Graduates to be produced in a very flexible manner to meet the needs and demands of Sri Lanka and the aspirations of Sri Lankans. // The Open Learning philosophy adopted at the Open University of Sri Lanka has enabled persons without any basic qualifications in Science to first acquire such qualifications through the Foundation Programme offered by the OUSL and then proceed to obtain a B.Sc. degree. In a Sri Lankan environment, which does not permit mobility of students within conventional universities and inter lateral student transfers, the Open University of Sri Lanka, through its B.Sc. degree programme in particular, has for a long time set the pace by permitting students to claim credit for qualifications obtained in other recognized institutions. // The Distance Learning methodology, adopted even in a Science Degree Programme, that inevitably requires students to follow compulsory face to face practical sessions, has enabled a number of mature and adult students to study at their own pace and undertake degree level tertiary education in Science without serious interruption of their employment requirements. The Open University of Sri Lanka has thus adopted very novel and innovative methods and schemes to provide face to face practical sessions in such a manner that students are not required to stay away from their employment for too long periods. All these have indeed been welcome relief mechanisms and have enabled the provision of alternate opportunities for tertiary education in the Sri Lankan situation which unfortunately permits only 2% of the relevant student cohort to pursue university education in state universities completely free of charge. //

Sri Lanka