A study on non-completing students of the Certificate in Pre-school Education programme at the Open University of Sri Lanka

A Ariyaratne, D M W Munasinghe, P Seneviratne, P L N Randima Rajapaksha and D D I Dediwala
The Open University of Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka

The Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education in the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) has been conducting the Certificate in Preschool Education programme since the 1980s. The student enrolment on this programme is very high due to its popularity among pre-school teachers. However, the completion rate is gradually decreasing, and this study attempts to investigate the reasons for this development. The objectives are to find out the background characteristics of students and the factors affecting their non-completion. Finally, it makes recommendations to minimize the non-completion rate in order to improve the quality and effectiveness of this programme.

In this research, a questionnaires and telephone interviews were employed for data collection, and the sample was selected from non-completion students who participated in the programme from 1998/1999 to 2009/2010. The findings indicated that the majority of those registering on the program were between 17 and 35 years of age, and were involved in the field of child care: most of them were pre-school teachers, while 37% were unemployed. The largest number in the sample came from the Colombo Centre, with the second largest being from the Kandy Centre; and all the other centres comprised 25.8% of the sample. The main reason why students did not complete the programme was difficulty in finding time. Other reasons cited included absence of support from the family; fear of facing the final examination due to lack of time for study; failure to obtain eligibility to complete the programme by submitting assignments on time; inability to maintain studentships; and inability to complete the practical component. Taking the above factors into consideration, it is recommended that there should be a mechanism for those running the programme to handle the participants' personal problems and maintain clear channels of communication.