Open Learning

 The strategy of higher education sector in Syria aims to achieve a number of goals the most important of which are:increasing access to higher education opportunities and making them available for all people according to merit and equal opportunity standards from the perspective that higher education is a right for all people and that the student is entitled toan educational opportunity being one of the most important economic and social development factors.
Accordingly, open learning is considered asupporting system for education that enhances students’ chances foradmission into a variety of theoretical domains. The educational process takes place on campus during the two-day weekend. Thus, it offers new educational opportunities and partially solves the problem of the insufficient capacity of the general education system. Open learning programs give a chance to obtain a degree to students who were unable to enroll in higher education for one reason or another as well as to employees in various institutions who do not have degrees.
The open learning system was established in the Syrian universities under Decree No.383 of 29/7/2001. The Decree allowed for the admission of a certain number of students who hold the Syrian secondary school certificate (baccalaureate) or its equivalent into open learning, e-learning, and distant learning systems or transfer students from other public or private universities.
The Higher Education Council has approved in it decision No. /92/, of 15/1/2007, a special system for open learning which provides the basis for this system, rules of admission, registration and transfer, and dates of its exams.
The open learning system at Damascus University includes the following programs:
•    The Media Program was opened in the 2001-2002 academic year. Its course duration is four academic years and is under the academic supervision of the Media Faculty. Its first class graduated atthe end of 2004-2005 academic year.
•    The Translation Program was opened in academic year 2001-2002 as well. Its course duration is four academic years and is supervised academically by the English Department at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Its first class graduated atthe end of 2004-2005 academic year.
•    The Accounting Program was opened in the 2003-2004 academic year. Its course duration is four academic years and is supervised academically by the Accounting Department at the Faculty of Economics. Its first class graduated atthe end of 2006-2007 academic year.
•    The Legal Studies Program was opened in the 2003-2004 academic year. Its course duration is four academic years and is supervised academically by the Faculty of Law. The first class graduated atthe end of 2006-2007 academic year.
•    The Kindergarten Program was opened in the 2003-2004 academic year. Its course duration is four academic years and is supervised academically by the Faculty of Education. The first class graduated atthe end of 2006-2007 academic year.
•    The International and Diplomatic Studies Program was opened in the 2006-2007 academic year. Thecourse duration is four academic years and is supervised academically by the Faculty of Political Science. The first class graduated atthe end of 2009-2010 academic year.
•    The Management of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Program was opened in 2010-2011 academic year. Thecourse duration is four academic years and is supervised academically by the Faculty of Economics. Its first class graduated atthe end of 2013-2014 academic year.
•    The Educational Qualifying Program was opened in the Faculty of Education in the 2010-2011 academic year. Thecourse duration is one year. The first class graduated atthe end of 2011-2012 academic year.
•    The School Teacher Training Program: Course duration is two academic years. It was opened in 2004-2005 academic year according to an agreement signed between the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Higher Education also signed another agreement with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency(UNRWA) in 2007-2008 in order to qualify graduates ofteacher training institutes and enhance their academic and educational qualifications to be compatible with those of the holders of Bachelor degrees in Education. The Program is supervised academically by the Faculty of Education, and the first class graduated atthe end of 2005-2006 academic year- the agreement was not renewed.
Open learning programs at Damascus University have been popular and highly demanded by those willing to pursue their university education since the programs were first opened. The total number of enrolled students was approximately 73,420 in 2017-2018 academic year. The total number of officially registered students was 32,420 in 2017-2018 academic year.

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