Developing Strategies for successful Science and Technology programmes in Open Universities of Developing countries
As human civilization progresses from one era to another era the education and its delivery also undergoes changes and transformations as per the experience and needs of the society of that era. The present day system had arisen and developed as per Humboldt's or Newman's vision born of the experience of nineteenth century. Since then there has been revolutionary developments lead by science and technology in all spheres of human life giving rise to a society based on knowledge and knowledge workers which is far more than a social change and considered to create changes in the human condition (Drucker, 1994). As Magrath (2006) says the 21st century University which has great educational and intellectual talents within its faculty and staff is an educational enterprise and must use the educational talents available to serve society. We may say in line with this, there are some important concepts and models evolving to make education nearer to societal needs - university-industry collaboration/cooperation, model 1 & 2 models, triple helix, National innovation systems, regional innovation systems, higher education for sustainable development, consortium & cluster concept, public-private-panchayat partnership, skill development mission, finishing schools, university outreach and engagement, open and distance learning, corporate education, service learning, community learning, scholarship of engagement, centres of excellence and relevance, community colleges etc. // One of the developments which saw large expansion with respect to India is Open University (OU) concept. Though the potential of open distance learning system (ODL) in addressing higher education needs of the society is well argued in the literature, there is still skepticism about the legitimacy of distance education in countries as different as Swaziland, China, Canada and some European countries (Harry & Perraton, 1999). It is not surprising that the ODL system is often considered as 'second chance' and even 'second grade' system in developing countries like India. This may be mainly due to the fact that the system's potential is being focused often providing access to education (making the open distance learning as an alternative system to education) rather than for meeting the needs and demands of knowledge society and knowledge economy (making open distance learning an essential system of education). As Gidley et al (2010) point out access, which is often treated as synonymous with social inclusion, is only the first step in providing higher education. Along with the access, success is an important aspect in social inclusion. The third concept introduced by them, participation is an important factor in knowledge society where knowledge production is socially distributed and subject to multiple accountabilities. All these three concepts (access, participation and success) can be seen to reflect degrees of social inclusion and we need to see that ODL system cover these three concepts to move to the real of knowledge society. Narasimharao and Nair (2010) while discussing universities and corporate education concludes that the 21st century responsibility of universities in developing countries lies in broader involvement of universities with society by developing strategies to integrate the recent trends in higher education to make the universities to link to their space and also to integrate the recent trends in higher education to make the universities to link to their place and also to integrate entrepreneurial and traditional functions needed for the well being of the society. The present paper discusses on developing strategies for successful science and technology (S & T) programmes in open universities of developing countries.