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
Open University of Sri Lanka Crest
Type Public
Chancellor Prof. Colvin Goonaratna
Vice-Chancellor Prof. S.A. Ariadurai
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students35,000+ [a]
Campus Urban
Colours Orange, Black and White    
Affiliations University Grants Commission of 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 Open and Distance Mode of Learning(ODL). [1] The degrees awarded by the university are treated as equivalent to degrees awarded by any other Sri Lankan University under the preview of the University Grants Commission.


The OUSL Main Campus ( C010 ) is located in Colombo in Nawala, Nugegoda. There are 8 regional centers in addition to main campus at Nawala. They are;

The Open University of Sri Lanka is currently ranked as No.9 among Sri Lankan Universities and No. 6353 among international Universities. [2]

Establishment & History

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. [1] 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. [3]

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. [3]



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

Professor Colvin Goonaratna. is the present chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka. He was appointed the Chancellor of OUSL in June 2015. [4]


The Vice-Chancellor is the head of administration of the University. Prof. S.A. Ariadurai is the current Vice-Chancellor of The Open University of Sri Lanka. He was appointed on 23 June 2015. Current Deputy vice chancellor is Prof. Kamal Gunaherath, appointed in December 2015.


The University consists of five Faculties and one postgraduate institute and several divisions. The five faculties are:

  1. Faculty of Education
  2. Faculty of Engineering Technology
  3. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  4. Faculty of Natural Sciences
  5. Faculty of Health Sciences
  6. Faculty of Management Studies
  7. Postgraduate Institute of English (PGIE)- This Post Graduate Institute offers two master's degree programs; Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) and Master of Arts in Teaching Literature in a Second Language context (TLSC)

Faculty of Education

The Faculty of Education was established in 2003 and currently consists of three departments. [5] These three departments are:

Faculty of Engineering Technology

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:

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

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) is the largest faculty of the OUSL. [6] The Faculty consists of the four following departments:

1. Department of English and Language Studies
2. Department of Law
3. Department of Social Studies
4. Department of Management
5. Department of English Language Teaching

Faculty of Natural Sciences

The Faculty of Natural Sciences was established in 1987 [7] and consists of the six following departments:

Faculty of Health Sciences

The Faculty of health Sciences established in August 2015 is the youngest faculty of the university . It consists of six academic departments.

1. Department of Basic Sciences
2. Department of Health Education and Research
3. Department of Pharmacy,
4. Department of Nursing,
5. Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences
6. Department of Psychology and Counselling

Non-Academic/ Support Divisions

Administrative divisions

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 Examination Division

Study Centers of OUSL

There are 18 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. Bandarawela ( K120 ) – St Thomas Road, Wewatenna, Bandarawela
  5. Galle ( M040 ) – Labuduwa, Galle
  6. Gampaha ( C200 ) – Gampaha Road, Miriswatte, Mudungoda
  7. Hatton ( K122 ) – Thomndaman Vocational Training Center, Hatton
  8. Kegalle ( K140 ) – Kumarathunga Munidasa Mawatha, Kegalle
  9. Kalutara ( C020 ) – 66/2, Nagoda Road, Kalutara
  10. Kilinochchi ( K032 ) – Lwa Resources Center, Kandy Rd, Kilinochchi
  11. Kuliyapitiya ( C100 ) – No.21 Lionel Jayathilaka Mw, Kuliyapitiya
  12. Mannar – ( NP44 ) No 363, Thalaimannar Road, Mannar
  13. Mullaithivu – ( NP43 ) Oddusuddan Road, Puthukkudiyiruppu, Mullaithivu
  14. Monaragala ( M180 ) – Technical College Junction, Sirigala, Potuvil Rd., Monaragala
  15. Polonnaruwa ( K150 ) – 24, Post Bediwewa, Jayanthipura, Polonnaruwa
  16. Puttalam ( C135 ) – 1/137, Colombo Rd., Puttalam
  17. Ratnapura ( C130 ) – Hiddellna, Ratnapura
  18. Vavuniya (NP41) – No. 366, Kandy Rd., Thekkawaththai, Vavuniya

Student activities

Students Unions

"Open University Students Unity" to protect students rights.

Studying at OUSL

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.

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

Main campus at Nawala Open University of Sri Lanka.jpg
Main campus at Nawala

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 is two-year course equals to 12 & 13 grades of G.C.E Advanced level classes .

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.

OUSL Kandy regional center at Polgolla Kandy regional center.jpg
OUSL Kandy regional center at Polgolla

The credit rating of a programme increases progressively, with Certificates usually being 36 credits, a Diploma 90 credits and Undergraduate Degrees comprising 150 or 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.

Course Code

Each course offered by the university is assigned a course code. This code includes certain components of identification that uniquely identifies the course. The particular subject area/discipline is one component of identification used when assigning course codes. The course code also informs the Program of Study for which the course is offered and the level of study at which it is offered. Courses for undergraduate degrees are offered at Levels 3,4,5, and 6, whilst Courses in Foundation are offered at Level 2. In assigning course codes, the program of study is identified by a letter and the level of study is by a digit.

Incorporating all of the above components, each course is assigned a course code consisting of 7 alphanumeric characters. The first three letters indicate the area of discipline and the program of study. The first digit reflects the level of study, the second digit multiplied by 3 will give the credit rating. the last two digits give a unique serial number for the course.

Support for Learning through Personal Tutors

Each student is assigned a personal tutor/counselor during the pre-registration orientation sessions of some programs. The Personal Tutor will guide the students and provide greater awareness about the university, the study system and other particulars regarding the program of study.

Students are also reminded that it is mandatory to get the registration forms certified by the Personal Tutor before coming for registration.

Day Schools

Day Schools are interactive sessions where the student will get the opportunity to meet the respective course teachers to clarify any difficulty they come across in their study material. Attendance at day schools is not compulsory. However, attending a day school well prepared will immensely help students perform well in the courses. Day schools are held almost at all Regional Centers and the students have the option of attending a Day school held at a center of their choice.

Tutor clinics are normally held just before the end of semester final exams as an additional help for students preparing for final exams.

Online Support & MyOUSL

In order to give the students additional help and also to familiarize them with modern learning trends and tools, some courses are supplemented with an online component. The online activities could be accessed from home or from the National Online Distance Education Service Access Centers (NAC centers) located at centers specified in Regional centers. Once the student register for a course with an online component, student will be further advised on how to access and use it.

Through MyOUSL, the link , students may access online moodle courses, personal details, timetables, payment details, submit final exam applications, etc..

The university has the entire idea of Open and Distant Learning system. And surely Online Support and MyOUSL is very helpful for the students.


The OUSL operates a network of libraries comprising the main library at Central Campus, Nawala and 5 other main regional centers. In addition, there are small libraries in each of the Study Centers. The Main library is open for students from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm on each day including week-ends except Full Moon Poya Days and University holidays. The regional center libraries are open during working hours each day, except on Sundays and Mondays.

The main library is well equipped with a substantial collection of books in a wide variety of subjects and many foreign and local journals. The main library is also operates a fully equipped Audio Visual Resource Center (AVRC) with a substantial collection of videos, audios, to supplement print material. The AVRC provides internet facilities for study purposes of students.

In-house photocopying facilities are also available at very nominal rates for the convenience of all library users. The facility of getting inter-library loan of books, journals, and video films is also available. The library has copies of past examination papers, which are also available on the University website. Students are advised to read the library information sheets available at all libraries for more details on the facilities provided and how to make use of them.

Financial Assistant through Scholarships and Bursaries

The Open University of Sri Lanka provides a limited number of bursaries administered by the University and Mahapola Scholarships administered under the Mahapola Trust. Both the Bursaries and Scholarships are offered under the two schemes – merit and need. The main criterion for a merit scholarship is the overall student performance at Final Exams. Guidelines for the Bursaries and Mahapola Scholarships and further information are available with the Assistant Registrar of the each Faculty.

See also

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  1. 1 2 The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage Retrieved on 23 November 2009
  2. Sri Lanka University Ranking and Higher Education Institute Ranking
  3. 1 2 The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage Retrieved on 23 November 2009
  4. The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage Retrieved on 23 November 2009
  5. The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage Retrieved on 23 November 2009
  6. The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage Retrieved on 23 November 2009
  7. The Open University of Sri Lanka Homepage Retrieved on 23 November 2009