The Open University of Sri Lanka, established in 1980, has conferred degrees on several batches of students since 1990. However, published information on the performance of these graduates is not available. Nor has any systematic research been carried out on this aspect. Hence this survey on the graduates of the Open University of Sri Lanka was initiated under the ODA/OUSL Distance Education Project. The main objective of this preliminary survey was to collect base-line information about OUSL graduates. In addition, a study of the differences, if any, between the various types of degree-holders was also intended. Related data were obtained through questionnaires sent to all graduates who graduated from the three faculties in 1996.
The findings of this survey revealed that these categories of graduates varied with respect to age, gender composition and employment. Most graduates came from Colombo or the bigger towns and had not acquired their entire tertiary education at the OUSL alone. Investigation of their background revealed that they also differed with respect to qualifications on admission, level of entry, time taken to graduate, marital status, number of dependants, financial and employment status while studying, study patterns and study centres. Most graduates felt that they had not made maximum use of the available facilities. Most also seem to have decided to register at the OUSL in order to secure employment or promotions, achieve higher income levels and better social standing rather than improve knowledge and skills, develop their personality and broaden their horizons. Though most were not willing to study in the English medium, after graduation, the majority indicated their appreciation of having had to do so. Most graduates were satisfied with the recognition given to their degrees although a few expressed dissatisfaction. All graduates expressed a desire to have regular contact and interaction with the OUSL.
The findings of this survey are based on data obtained from the responses from a single batch of graduates. Further studies with detailed analyses and repeated surveys should be carried out to obtain more representative information.