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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