Al-Quds Open University
Al-Quds Open University is a Palestinian public university that is administratively, academically and financially independent. The University adopts Open Learning System, which is based on empowering the students, and on “Learner Autonomy” and on “Independent Learning” through adopting e- Learning technique, Multimedia, modern means of communication and textbooks to equip the learner with distinctive pattern of education.
The idea of establishing QOU emerged in 1975 with the aim to spread higher education and access those who live under difficult social, economic and demographic conditions resulted by occupation in Palestine.
In 1980, PLO submitted a request to UNESCO to prepare a feasibility study for an Open University project. This study; was approved by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1981, and later by the Palestinian National Council.
The temporary Headquarter of QOU was founded in Amman in 1985; and this is where QOU started drawing its plans and academic programs, approved the specializations, and developed curricula and textbooks. This phase lasted until 1991 when QOU commenced its educational services in its main Headquarter in Jerusalem. Then QOU gradually started to establish its study centers and branches in the Palestinian cities and villages.
In the beginning, the number of enrolled students did not exceed several hundreds, but that number started to double annually. Now QOU embraces one third of the Palestinian higher education students as the number reached (57895 students) in (2015/2016).
The University sought and is still seeking to spread open learning and e Learning in particular, not only in Palestine, but also in the entire Arab world to access larger number of beneficiaries; students, trainees, and those seekingknowledge and education away from the ideological and political conflicts. It also promotes freedom of thought and opinion, creativity, innovation and excellence. QOU did not neglect the right of persons with disabilities to learn and so it established highly –equipped labs for persons with visual impairments as a contribution to sustainable human and community development.
In spite of all the obstacles and challenges, the University has been able to develop programs and specializations in line with the needs of the Palestinian society. It adopts the latest teaching and learning pedagogy (Blending Learning Model) which is a mix of open learning and e- Learning. QOU has graduated (75413 students) since 1997 until 2015.