The Open University - United Kingdom (OU UK)is a world leader in modern flexible learning and the pioneer of teaching and learning methods, which enable people to achieve their career and life goals through studying at times and in places convenient to them.
The OU works with other organisations in many ways, by providing courses, collaborating on new curriculum, validating programmes and sharing their expertise to help other blended learning ventures become a reality. AOU is a Partner Institution of the OU, delivering OU Validated Awards. The Arab Open University (AOU) has in place
a confirmed agreement of cooperation and affiliation with the Open University – UK an institution which is widely acknowledged as one of the world leaders in flexible education since 2003.
The most recent renewal of its partnership has taken place in September 2017 and is valid until 31 August 2022.
This agreement covers three major areas: Licensing of Materials, Consultancies, Institutional approval and Validation. This collaboration has contributed greatly to the establishment of the Arab Open University as a “quality “institution of Higher Education. The Process of Institutional approval and validation arranged through the Open University Validation & Partnership (OUVP) is of paramount significance to the operation of the AOU and its credibility in the market place and with potential students and regional communities. The academic programmes validation includes the following; Bachelor and Master Programmes:
Bachelor degree in Business Studies (Management, Systems, Economics, Marketing, Accounting, Finance / Microfinance, Human Resources), Bachelor degree in Information Technology and Computing (Information Technology and Computing, Information and Communications Technology, Computing, Computing with Business, Development (WD), Networking and Security (N&S))., and Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature &English Language and Literature – Translation.
Master of Business Administration (MBA, MBA-Finance, (MBA-HRM)., MSc. Computing (Software Development Pathway, Information Security and Forensics Pathway)., Master of Educational Technology, Master of English Literature(MA).
The partnership agreement entails AOU to offer higher education programmes leading to Open University validated awards. “OU validated awards are well recognized throughout UK higher education". A validated award is exactly the same as an OU direct award in terms of employment or application for postgraduate study.
The AOU - OU-UK partnership has AOU engaging with the UK Academic infrastructure. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA-UK) code govern and determine the benchmarks for academic standards and provisions. The authentication and standard of the awards are a responsibility shared by both the institutions; OU-UK and AOU in general, academic standards are maintained in part by adherence to the University's procedures, OU-UK relevant guidance and crucially (although less directly) by the QAA-UK quality code and by the knowledge and understanding obtained through institutional research and scholarly activity, and the engagement of AOU Academic programmes with other higher education institutions and external agencies.
The AOU-OU agreement states that “AOU shall work cooperatively at all times with OUW (Open University World Wide) to support the Open University in meeting its obligations under the QAA-UK Code of Practice on the Assurance of Academic Quality and Standards in Higher Education' and such other quality assurance obligations as notified to AOU by OU or OUW," and “to adopt world-class quality assurance procedures in the presentation of the validated programmes". The agreement also lays out all requisites regarding licensing of modules, institutional approval, additional services and materials.
The AOU – OU partnership agreement is reviewed every five years in preparation for the institutional approval and programme re-validation process. The process is based on the audit visits and scrutiny of AOU –HQ and its campuses as per the following main principles:
- Principle 1: Provision of an appropriate learning environment.
- Principle 2: Independence of institutional ownership from the exercise of academic authority.
- Principle 3: Appropriate academic organization and the administrative structure to support it.
- Principle 4: Robust and rigorous quality assurance and enhancement informed by the UK Quality Code.
- Principle 5: Relations with the wider academic community.