Open University of Sri Lanka

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The Open University of Sri Lanka
ශ්‍රී ලංකා විවෘත විශ්ව විද්‍යාලය
இலங்கை திறந்த பல்கலைக்கழகம்
Logo ousl.jpg
Established 1978
Type Public
Chancellor Mr.Sam Wijesinghe
Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vijitha Nanayakkara
Students 35,000+[1]
Location Nawala, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka

"The Open University of Sri Lanka" (OUSL) (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකා විවෘත විශ්ව විද්‍යාලය, Tamil: இலங்கை திறந்த பல்கலைக்கழகம்) is a national university in Sri Lanka. It is unique within the Sri Lankan national university system for being the only university to offer programs of study leading to Certificate, Diploma, Degrees and Postgraduate degrees up to Phd level through the Distance Mode Learning.[2]

The OUSL Main Campus ( C010 ) is located in Colombo in Nawala, Nugegoda. There are 5 regional centers in addition to main campus at Nawala. They are;

The Open University of Sri Lanka is currently ranked as No.7 among Sri Lankan Universities and No. 5989 among international Universities.[3][better source needed]


The concept of establishing the Open University of Sri Lanka was by Dr. Nissanka Wijeyeratne

The concept of establishing the Open University of Sri Lanka was by Dr. Nissanka Wijeyeratne the Cabinet Minister of Education & Higher Education at the time.[4]

The University was set up by the Government of Sri Lanka under the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978, for the purpose of providing higher educational opportunities to working adults – providing them the road to success, surpassing age, vocation, gender, race, ethnicity and religion.[2] The OUSL has the same legal and academic status as any other national university in Sri Lanka.

The university policy on admission would enable a person to register at the lowest 'Level' with mere basic literacy and then climb up to postgraduate level.[5]

The concept of Distance Education at the OUSL functions through a dynamic network of regional and study centres, with knowledge imparted through multiple media. Therefore students with work commitments are able to pursue studies since they interact with especially designed self-instructional materials where the materials function as a "Tutor in Print". This method provides the distance learner with the best possible learning opportunity to enable a balancing of personal, work related and academic obligations.[5]


The Chancellor is the Head of the University and presides at the convocation of the University.

Sam S. Wijesinghe is the present chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka. He was appointed the Chancellor of OUSL in June 2006. He was the former Secretary General of Sri Lanka Parliament.[6]


The Vice-Chancellor is the head of administration of the University.

Dr. Vijitha Nanayakkara is the current Vice-Chancellor of The Open University of Sri Lanka. He was appointed in June 2012.


The University consists of four Faculties and several divisions. The four faculties are:

  1. Faculty of Education
  2. Faculty of Engineering Technology
  3. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  4. Faculty of Natural Sciences

Faculty of Education[edit]

The Faculty of Education was established in 2003 and currently consists of three departments.[7] These three departments are:

1.Department of Secondary & Tertiary Education
2.Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education
3.Department of Special Needs Education

Faculty of Engineering Technology[edit]

The Faculty of Engineering Technology of OUSL offers Bachelor of Technology Honours in Engineering[BTech Eng (Hons)], Bachelor of Industrial studies (BIS) and Bachelor of Software Engineering(BSE). Bachelor of Technology Honours in Engineering degree offered by the Faculty of Engineering Technology is highly recognised by professional Engineering Institution (IESL); both local and overseas to work as qualified Graduate Engineers. It is also the pioneers of introducing Mechatronics Engineering to Sri Lankan engineering education curricula and would be proud of producing first graduate engineers in Mechatronics engineering on 2010 in Sri Lanka. The Faculty consists of six departments. These six departments are:

1. Department of Agricultural and Plantation Engineering
2. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
3. Department of Mechanical Engineering
4. Department of Textile and Apparel Technology
5. Department of Civil Engineering
6. Department of Mathematics and Philosophy of Engineering

Faculty also offers two Master of Technology programmes in Industrial Engineering and Construction management; each conduct by Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering departments respectively.

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences[edit]

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) is the largest faculty of the OUSL.[8] The Faculty consists of the four following departments:

1. Department of Language Studies
2. Department of Law
3. Department of Social Studies
4. Department of Management

Faculty of Natural Sciences[edit]

The Faculty of Natural Sciences was established in 1987[9] and consists of the six following departments:

1.Department of Botany
2.Department of Chemistry
3.Department of Health Science
4.Department of Mathematics
5.Department of Physics
6.Department of Zoology

Non-Academic/ Support Divisions[edit]

  • Library Services
  • Educational Technology
  • Regional Educational Services
  • Information Technology
  • Staff Development Centre

Administrative divisions[edit]

The administration is done by other Divisions.

Finance Division
Information Technology Division
Establishment Division
General Administration Division
Student Affairs Division
Regional Educational Services Division
Public Information office
Maintenance Division
Operations Division
Internal and Government Audit Division

Study Centers of OUSL[edit]

There are 17 study centers in OUSL distributed all over Sri Lanka.

  1. Ambalangoda ( M041 ) - 80/1.Polwatte Road,Halwatura, Ambalangoda
  2. Ambalantota ( M051 ) - Rajasaranagama Road, Lunama South, Ambalantota
  3. Ampara ( K080 ) - Inginiyagala Road, Samapura, Ampara
  4. Badulla ( U 190 ) - Advanced Technical IUnstitute, Badulla
  5. Bandarawela ( K120 ) - St Thomas Road, Wewatenna, Bandarawela
  6. Galle ( M040 ) - Labuduwa, Galle
  7. Gampaha ( C200 ) - Gampaha Road, Miriswatte, Mudungoda
  8. Hatton ( K122 ) - Thomndaman Vocational Training Center, Hatton
  9. Kegalle ( K140 ) - Kumarathunga Munidasa Mawatha, Kegalle
  10. Kalutara ( C020 ) - 66/2, Nagoda Road, Kalutara
  11. Kurunegala ( K190 ) - Negambo Rd, Nissanka mawatha Junction, Kurunegala
  12. Moneragala ( M180 ) - Technical College Junction, Sirigala, Potuvil Rd., Moneragala
  13. Polonnaruwa ( K150 ) - 24, Post Bediwewa, Jayanthipura, Polonnaruwa
  14. Puttalam ( C135 ) - 1/137, Colombo Rd., Puttalam
  15. Ratnapura ( C130 ) - Hiddellna, Ratnapura
  16. Vavuniya ( J160 ) - No. 366, Kandy Rd., Thekkawaththai, Vavuniya
  17. Kilinochchi ( K032 ) - Lwa Resources Center, Kandy Rd, Kilinochchi

Student activities[edit]

Students Unions[edit]

"OPEN INDEPENDENT STUDENT TEAM" to protect students rights.

Studying at OUSL[edit]

The distance learning methodology adopted by the OUSL may initially appear as a challenging task to students. In addition to gaining subject knowledge and skills, students develop many other life skills, including, self-organization, and time management. Regular lectures, a feature of face-to-face teaching at a conventional university, is minimal at the OUSL. Instead, students learn through with other forms of support that facilitate learning.

  • Study package

The OUSL adopts a multimedia system for teaching with a strong emphasis on distance learning. The study system supports the students through printed course material, audio visual aids, discussions, day schools, tutor clinics, lab and field works, industry visits, web based learning,etc. Continuous assessments and final examinations are also integral parts of the study system.

Printed course material is the center element in the study package. Improving reading skills is therefore essential to be successful as an OUSL student. Where applicable, students will also be provided with other supportive material applicable to a course, such as study guides, practical guides, audio visual material,etc. Printed course materials are carefully prepared to suit self study and independent learning. The printed course materials provide the students the subject knowledge of the course. The clearly outline the objectives of the course and what the student will be able to achieve by studying the course. Self-assessment questions and activities included in the course material will enable the learners to continuously assess themselves as they proceed. Printed course materials are normally provided at the time of registration for a programme/course.

OUSL vocabulary[edit]

Once become a student of the OUSL, student need to be familiar with the OUSL terminology. It is important that student understand these terms clearly and be vigilant of these, since most are related to student's performance in studies.

A Programme of study consists of a combination of compulsory and optional courses, which leads to a certificates, certificate of advanced study, diploma, degree or a postgraduate degree.

A Stand Alone Course is a course which can be considered as a separate entity. These courses can be offered by any person who wishes to upgrade the knowledge in a particular subject area, without registering for a regular programme of study, such as a Degree/Certificate Programme. many courses of the Degree Programmes are offered as Stand Alone Courses.

Continuing education courses are offered for students registered for regular programmes of study who wish to widen their knowledge in areas of their choice These include support courses, such as Mathematics, English, Computer literacy, etc. A student can offer a limited number of continuing education courses, over and above the maximum workload allowed during an academic year.

Foundation Courses in Science are courses offered for those who lack academic qualifications equivalent to that of G.C.E Advanced Level in Sri Lanka. Thus, these are particularly suited for students who lack direct entry requirements for the Degree Programme.

  • Credit Rating

Programmes as well as courses carry a credit rating. The 'Credit Rating' is the expression used in the OUSL to denote the "Academic value" of a course/programme. Please note that the word credit does not imply any measure of academic performance at an examination such as Credit Pass at G.C.E O/L or A/L Examination. The Credit rating gives a measure of the time expected to be spent on studying the course. At the OUSL, one credit is about 45 hours of study time. The time specified for a course involved, including reading and understanding course material, face-to-face sessions, continuous assessments, final examinations, consultation of reference materials, practical classes, etc.

The credit rating of a programme increases progressively, with Certificates usually being 36 credits, a Diploma 90 credits and Undergraduate Degrees comprising 150 0r 177 credits, depending on whether degree is a three or four year programme.

The credit rating of courses also vary. The minimum credit rating of courses presently offered by the Faculty of Natural Sciences is 3. Average total time expected to be spent on a 3 credit course is around 135 hours. In actual study time, this would mean a student is expected to spend 5 hours per week on average, for a 3 credit course that is offered during one year (30 weeks ).

The maximum workload a student may undertake in an academic year is 45 credits. A student may register for a maximum of 2 programmes in the OUSL. However, both programmes should be 45 credits, This corresponds approximately to the workload undertaken in an academic year by a full-time student in conventional university. Many students, who are either employed or with other commitments find it difficult to spend this much of time for their studies and handle this full workload. Students are therefore strongly advised not to register for more than 27 credits especially in their first year of study.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage [1] Retrieved on 23 November 2009
  3. ^
  4. ^ Saga of Nilame and Kumarihamy by Lakmal Welabada. Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka), Retrieved on 10 December 2006.
  5. ^ a b The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage [2] Retrieved on 23 November 2009
  6. ^ The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage [3] Retrieved on 23 November 2009
  7. ^ The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage [4] Retrieved on 23 November 2009
  8. ^ The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage [5] Retrieved on 23 November 2009
  9. ^ The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage [6] Retrieved on 23 November 2009