An examination of some of the difficulties of establishing an open university in a small linguistic area: the case of Suisse romande
AbstractThis paper aims to describe and discuss the various initiatives currently being undertaken in Switzerland (and more specifically the Francophone Suisse romande) with regard to the introduction or adoption of an open university. The paper sets these developments in their historical context by outlining the growth of open universities and the various models available in the world today. The writer regroups these models in a simple typography of four dimensions dealing with, for example, entrance criteria, level of technology etc. The criteria are then discussed which an open university would have to fulfil for it to function not only adequately in the mixed urban‐rural‐plateau‐mountain situation which is Suisse romande but for it to function with due regard to the various cultures present. It is also argued that an open university can only be so if it affords opportunity to study to those previously denied it, and this regardless of their circumstances. It is questioned whether a foreign open university can ever be expected to take proper cognisance of the receiving culture and, using the experience of the United Kingdom Open University with regard to Scotland, conclude that this is unlikely to be the case and that only a home‐grown open university can not only respect indigenous cultures but also avoid culture clashes between what is presented in the courses and what the student experiences. Referring specifically to the nature of Swiss adult education, the reticence of the main provider of adult education to get involved in the development of open universities in that country is queried.
CitationAn examination of some of the difficulties of establishing an open university in a small linguistic area: the case of Suisse romande 1996, 15 (2):114 International Journal of Lifelong Education
PublisherTaylor and Francis
JournalInternational Journal of Lifelong Education