Education is a very important role in our lives. Everyone has been being educated since the day they were born. There is a rapidly growing demand for a higher education in the world today.
Britain's Open University is a pioneer in distance learning. An MP dismissed it as "blithering nonsense" and The Times of London questioned whether there would be any demand for it. But now the Open University is the largest in Britain, with 200,000 registered students and 3.25 mln others who watch its programmes on TV.
Since its founding in 1969, the University opened up educational opportunities for at least two million students and won a worldwide reputation for pioneering methods of distance education. The Open University, originally referred to the University of the Air and now widely n as the OU, was set up by Prime Minister Harold Wilson's Labour government and from the ouset was open to all — there are no entry qualifications for the undergraduate programme, except a minimum age of 18. It offered a second chance to thousands of people who had not had the opportunity to go on to higher education in the past.
Today half of all OU students are women -a higher proportion than most other universities and many use it as part of a planned career break.
The flexibility of OU study means that full-time workers can retrain or gain extra qualifications at the same time: 75 per cent of students are in employment.
The university caters for more than 200,000 students a year by correspondence tuition backed up by television programmes and regional face-to-face tutorials. Every week 20 tons of course materials are sent through the post and each year 850,000 pieces of course work are marked. Since the beginning, the OU has been in partnership with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
It is not cheap: the cost of a degree works out at more than £2,000 because the government's grant to the OU does not cover the entire £160 million a year operating budget.
Also it has steadily become more international. For years, students were required to live in Britain. "Now, the new Business School," says Daniel, "has students from all over the world." Overall, about 10,000 students live abroad. In addition, about 30 institutions have been set up as a result of OU support or inspiration, from Asia to Latin America.
With the increasing cost of higher education, it has been argued that distance learning will become a normal part of a normal degree, and that the traditional three-year residential course will wither away.
There are a number of advantages of the OU, that’s why many people choose it to get on to higher education:
The Open University is ranked among the top 15% of all Britain's 90-odd universities (11th to be precise), for the quality of its teaching.
The OU has developed its own unique and extremely successful method of study known as OU supported open learning — developed over the years to make sure that people studying in their own time can achieve academic success
Over 150 courses can be taken on their own, or combined to build a first degree, OU Diplomas are also available in 29 subjects
Over 30,000 companies have paid for their staff to take OU courses, including BT, British Aerospace, IBM, Lloyds TSB, Nokia and Norwich
If you ask anyone who's studied with the OU recently, they'll tell you that learning with the Open University is an experience you'll never forget. Not only do you get to challenge your mind with new information and fresh ideas at the highest standards. Not only do you complete a course, diploma or degree. You end up with real personal achievements alongside your academic ones. The Open University learning experience is second to none.