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Open University To Get Major Funding To Boost Online Learning

Gordon Brown, the British Premier, has announced that the Open University will get a massive cash injection from the government to help it expand it role as one of the most innovative UK Universities.

Onits 40th anniversary, OU as it is known will get a £7.8 million public funding which will be used to encourage university students who drop out to come back and continue their studies.

Data shows that around 35,000 students in England alone abandon their studies every year, which according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), represent around one in every fourteen undergraduates.

The project, known as "Shared Returns" will provide with help, assistance and support for students willing to resume their studies, with the notable difference that the learning process is likely to take place entirely online.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which is the main financial backer of the project, reckons that more than 5,000 students who dropped out in the first place will return to higher education thanks to the project.

Gordon Brown said that "The success of distance learning, pioneered 40 years ago by the Open University, has been nothing short of a revolution for higher education. It has opened the doors to a whole new audience of students who have not only seen academic success, but reaped the wider rewards learning brings."

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The government has also pledged an additional £20 part as part of the Open Learning Innovation fund to encourage the development of online learning across the country. While this might ultimately create a whole educated workforce, questions remain as to their overall "employability", especially during a recession that saw bankers and teachers queuing up for low-pay jobs.

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The Open University – 40 today, and a genius for our times (opens in new tab)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.