How can Open and Distance Learning effectively facilitate IT Education in Sri Lanka?
Faculty of Information Technology, University of Moratuwa, LK
Professor A S Karunananda is the Professor in Information Technology in the Faculty of Information Technology of the University of Moratuwa. He was a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science of the Open University of Sri Lanka. His research interests are Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology and Distance Education. He could be contacted on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The state university system has been frequently criticized for not producing adequate IT manpower for the development of the country. In responding to this issue, the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) has been offering Computer Science, Computer Engineering and various basic IT courses through the distance mode for many years.
This study investigates whether a prior knowledge of IT contributes to improved performance in Computer Science education at the university level.
This research was carried out using two groups: students who concurrently follow Computer Science and a common IT course in the university and students who follow Computer Science but not a common IT course. Students performance records were used for the analysis.
In this research, it is empirically revealed that offering well-designed certificate or diploma programmes in IT at the pre-university level will be of immense benefit. This serves two purposes; firstly, such a programme could be used as a means for preparing students for the degree level Computer Science course. Secondly, it can strengthen IT manpower in the country, as IT knowledge of this level adequately serves the majority of IT needs in the country.
It is proposed that the OUSL should respond to this national need by offering more certificate or diploma courses in IT nationwide. Finally, it is also proposed that the OUSL should explore the possibility of private sector collaboration in offering certificate and diploma level programmes in IT nationwide.