The topic of the
study was “Developing a Model for Student Support Services at Allama
Iqbal Open University”.
The objectives of the study were to evaluate the existing facilities
available in student support services at AIOU, review various models
used in developing and developed countries and to develop student
support services model for AIOU.
The population of the study was the students, tutors, RDs, DRDs,
ARDs, academicians, and policy makers of AIOU, UKOU and OUSL. The
sample comprised of 200 students of AIOU, 200 of UKOU and 200 OUSL
semester Spring 2003 of B.Ed programme. 50 tutors of AIOU, UKOU and
OUSL, 20 RDs, DRDs, ARDs of AIOU, 20 OUSL and 20 RDs of UKOU, 10
policy makes of AIOU, UKOU and 10 OUSL, 50 academicians of AIOU,
UKOU and OUSL.
To achieve the objectives of the study, five questionnaires were
constructed for students, tutors, RDs/DRDs/ARDs, policy makers and
academicians of AIOU and UKOU, consisting of four parts: (i) general
services (ii) tutorial services (iii) counselling services and (iv)
library services. All questions were designed at five point rating
scale; however, one last question was open ended.
The score on each item was analyzed by applying chi square,
percentage and mean score formula to determine the objectives of the
The major findings were, (i) Regional campuses of UKOU worked
independently as mini university while AIOU regional centre/ campus
worked under the main campus, (ii) UKOU students enjoyed the
facility of Open University Student Association while AIOU did not
form such an association, (iii) UKOU Regional Campuses provided
number of better quality student support services than AIOU.
On the basis of data analysis, it was found that in general AIOU,
UKOU and OUSL cumulatively, resembled in their student support and
they had attained great popularity by dint of their broadcast TV and
radio programmes. Also, most of the students were highly satisfied
with the media support services. However, AIOU exceeded in half of
the categories of facilities in establishment and administration as
regards enrollment in comparison to UKOU and OUSL. There was no
significant difference in the performance of tutors, quality of face
to face meetings, standard of resource centers and techniques of
media support, but AIOU could not show high standards of counseling
as compared to UKOU. Three universities could not achieve some of
their claimed targets and needed improvement in order to maintain
the quality of their education through effective training of
their personnel and evaluating the provisions presently made.
The findings of the study have led the researcher to recommend that
(i) regional campuses should be made independent like UKOU (ii)
counselling and guidance cell should be established in every
regional campus (iii) modern communication faculties like toll free
phones or auto answer should be provided at AIOU regional campus
(iv) Allama Iqbal Open University Student Association should be
founded on the lines of Open University Student Association of UKOU.
After analyzing and interpretation of data and document, the main
conclusions were; UKOU, OUSL and AIOU provide a number of student
support services through their regional campuses but UKOU regional
campuses work independently like mini university. However, OUSL and
AIOU regional campuses work under the main campus.
For the contact facilities, OUSL and AIOU students rely only upon
mail and telephone, while UKOU students enjoy a number of different
facilities, for example, toll free phones and voice e-mail etc.
The major recommendations of the study are that the AIOU regional
centres should appoint tutors on merit and should intimate tutors in
time. There may be arrangements for comprehensive training of tutors
for the betterment of tutorial support system. It was also
recommended that AIOU may be affiliated with all the public and
institutional libraries in big districts for the facilitation of the
students. The tutors may be trained effectively for solving the
problems clientele as counselors more considerately and
sympathetically. Assignments may be given specific and encouraging
remarks to ensure the improvement on part of the students. Computer
assisted learning programmes may be introduced on higher level
courses and media support may be made interactive for getting
opinions from students.