21st Convocation of Open University held at BMICH

The 21st Convocation of the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) is scheduled to be held on November 19 at the BMICH. The ceremony will be presided over by the Chancellor of the Open University Sam Wijesinghe.

At the convocation, degrees will conferred on a total of 1397 persons: 01 Ph.D, 04 Masters’ of Philosophy, 88 Masters’ degrees, 735 Post Graduate Diplomas and 569 Bachelors’ degrees. This year, the Bachelor’s degree in Law will be awarded to 167 graduands, while the Bachelor of Science degree will be awarded to 218 graduands. An eminent academic from overseas, Professor Mohandas Balakrishna Menon who has been involved in the development of the Master of Arts in Teacher Education (MATE) International of the OUSL, will be conferred an honorary degree, Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa).

The Open University of Sri Lanka was established in 1980, by an Act of Parliament with the specific task of providing opportunities to those who aspired for higher education but who could not gain entry into the conventional universities, to those who missed education due to social or personal reasons, and to those who could not have access to education due to professional obligations. The Open University has successfully faced the challenge by adopting the open and distance mode, delivered through its regional education service network of centres in different parts of the country. Through the open entry system, any aspiring learner could gain entry into a study programme of his or her choice, at a level appropriate to his or her prior qualifications. Thus, the open entry system provides the learner of a ladder of opportunity to achieve a Certificate, a Diploma, a Degree or a Post-graduate qualification in a particular field of study. The centre network enables the learner to follow the study programme at the centre closest to his or her place of residence.

The OUSL has progressed over the years with number of students standing at 26038 today. There are 57 programmes and about 700 different courses being conducted by the Faculties of Education, Humanities and Social sciences, Natural Sciences and Engineering. The Open University also is the only higher educational institution which provides studies in Engineering Technology , in the distance mode. It is also one of the few higher educational institutions which provids studies in Natural Sciences in the distance mode. The post- graduate diploma in education which is of a high standard is immensely popular with large numbers qualifying each year.

The Open University, since its inception, has regularly been updating its array of courses and study programmes to meet social needs and to keep pace with the latest technological development. Through international collaborations a Masters’ programme in Sustainable Energy Engineering was launched this year and a certificate course in nuclear knowledge management through e learning is currently being developed, while existing programmes such as the Commonwealth Executive Masters in Business and Public Administration (CEMBA and CEMPA) and Commonwealth Youth Development Programme are being continued successfully. It has also has also gained international recognition, the most recent being, the winning of “The Commonwealth of Learning – Excellence in Distance Education Award” by the Faculty of Education.

Since its inception twenty eight years ago, the OUSL has delivered its courses through a media mix of print media, audio/video tapes, multimedia packages on CDs and DVDs along with a limited amount of classroom teaching and laboratory work in the central campus at Nawala and the 28 study centres scattered across Sri Lanka. Last year, the OUSL started its first online course on the “Teacher as an Educational Technologist” in December 2007 and many other postgraduate courses are being developed online including a continuing professional development course for general medical practitioners. At present, the University offers 37 supplementary courses online for 3884 undergraduate students. Under the Distance Education Modernization Project (DEMP) funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the University currently delivers online courses at NODES access centres (NACs) operational in 10 of the OUSL regional and study centres.

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