40th Anniversary of the Open University

I was looking on the BBCi Player for something to watch, and I came across a programme celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Open University.

Lenny Henry was fronting it as he had been a student at the O.U., and I found it fascinating how the whole conception of a University education for all had been envisioned and made possible all those years ago, when I was just a child of 7 – there, that tells you my age, doesn’t it? {grin}

I remember all those late night-early morning programmes, normally on some obscure, to me, scientific topic, that I ended up watching when my daughter was a baby, and teething, or ill and, although I didn’t understand a lot of it, it still fascinated me. Then, later on, as TV became a lot more sophisticated, how I enjoyed the many programmes made in conjunction with the BBC, especially all the earth sciences ones. They brought a taste of the world into my back-of-the-beyond home, which started up that thirst for learning once more, although I chose Literature and Humanities, rather than Science.

This programme has also made me think of how easily it might have been stopped at a few points in it’s early years – and I wondered just how many people’s lives would have been so different if it hadn’t been continued. I will be forever thankful for all those early pioneers, both in government, and the course writers and tutors, for all their work that ensured that the O.U. became a leader in home learning.

It makes me shudder a little, to think of how easily I might not have been able to continue my education. An education that had been halted due to financial necessity, as I was needed to bring home a wage packet at the time I wanted to go on with my learning. It amazes me that I hadn’t really heard of the O.U. at that time, at least, I wasn’t aware that it might be an option for me, otherwise I would definitely have become a student then. I guess the people responsible for advising me of my options, as conservative as they were, didn’t think it necessary to mention this wonderful choice – I guess I’ll never know why. But I am eternally grateful, to my daughter initially, and then my husband, for encouraging me to “go for it,” as my daughter said!

Because of all those dedicated people, 40 years ago, I am now half-way through my degree and, even now, I’m desperately trying to think of ways that I can finance going for an MA once my BA is under my belt!

That’s the problem with this O.U. lark – it’s so impossibly addictive! {grin}

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Filed under Anniversaries, Learning, Memories, Open University, Studying, TV

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