PA’s Mike Boxall, a higher education expert, is quoted in an article in the Guardian which looks at the closure of some Open University centres in England in response to the changing demand of students.
The article explains that the Open University has been hit by a decline in numbers of part-time students and that some of the changes have meant they need to close centres in order to save £5m.
Mike explains that one of the reasons the Open University is vulnerable to changes has been brought about by technology: “The OU is struggling to find its place in a world that has moved on,” says Mike.
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Mike explains that what was once a unique offering, the Open University now has competition: “Most universities now have substantial online offerings, especially in business and areas like that. The Open University haven’t got the field to themselves in the way they had.”
The article also explains that as students are supported more online, there is little need for them to go in to offices. Therefore, by selling off university buildings, the Open University will be able to release money to spend directly on students, such as by responding to student queries outside of normal working hours.