Our Background

Open Learning Centre (OLC) was established in 1993 when a significant gap in the higher education sector emerged to provide a pool within a large segment of the population educated up to high school level with the confidence to realise their full personal potential in shaping the direction taken by Zimbabwean society. There was a need in the higher educational institutions to develop confident and ambitious local management and business professionals and postgraduates equipped to compete at a global level.

Global Perspective
Internationally recognised professional, graduate or postgraduate qualifications are highly valued and continue to enjoy a very good reputation with employers and the general public. OLC launched professional education programmes in the area that had the greatest demand, business management, collaborating with specific global based professional bodies in the fields of management, finance, accountancy, marketing, and information technology. OLC's reputation for the highest standards, quality, customer service and preparing students with diverse backgrounds for career and life in the new dynamic Zimbabwean society was established from the outset. This reputation was enhanced by the exceptional pass rates achieved by OLC's students. As soon as the first groups of professionally qualified students graduated, OLC came under pressure to bring its innovative and quality approach to teaching to the area of postgraduate management development.

International Collaboration
This pressure gave rise to an initiative to collaborate with international institutions of higher learning for the delivery of postgraduate and post-professional management development programmes and in 1996, after rigorous validation, OLC launched collaborative Professional and Postgraduate Integrated Management Development Programmes. The collaborative partnerships were well managed by all the parties involved.  Excellence in teaching, quality assurance processes and subsequent performance of the graduates resulted in further successful accreditations, validations and subsequent revalidations of Professional Programmes as well as the Master of Business Administration (MBA) awarded by Nottingham Business School. Thousands of OLC students have qualified professionally and at the ultimate level, more than 350 students have successfully graduated with the Master of Business Administration (MBA). The alumni include, amongst others, such illustrious members of Zimbabwean economic society as the past President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, the Senior Strategic Advisor to the Governor of the Reserve Bank and the past President of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce. Recently OLC has established a high level collaborative arrangement with the UK based University of Gloucestershire offering students in the Southern African region the opportunity to undertake a corporate management development programme that leads to UoG’s MBA.

Culture, Ethos and Commitment
The management and staff have sustained the culture, ethos and commitment to excellence and quality. This is reflected in the continuing high pass rates achieved by students, the reports of excellence from external examiners and most importantly, OLC continuing to enjoy the growth in demand for all its programmes in a highly competitive market. The progressive culture and team spirit within OLC has allowed it to attract and retain staff and students of the highest calibre. OLC has a total of 62 permanent, part-time and contract staff. OLC's management has continuously enhanced its commitment to quality and academic excellence by investing in training and re-training its management and staff with the support of its collaborative partners. OLC has achieved national and now growing regional recognition as a Centre of first choice for business, industry and the professions in the areas of OLC's expertise management development, marketing, finance, accounting and IT.

Driving and Supporting Change
OLC has been at the forefront of embracing and implementing the dramatic changes in higher education arising from the demands of Zimbabwe's macroeconomic structural adjustments over the past 14 years. OLC was instrumental in advising and assisting Government on the liberalisation and democratisation of the accountancy and marketing professions. OLC was directly involved in the research into and subsequent changes to the accountancy profession in Zimbabwe. OLC played a significant role in the drafting of new legislation that led to the promulgation of the Public Accountants and Auditors Act in 1995. This brought the accountancy profession in Zimbabwe into line with the high standards of that profession in the U.K. and globally. OLC's innovative approaches in teaching and quality assurance through strategic alliances have established it as the benchmark for quality and excellence in higher education.

Synergistic Best Practice
Evidence of OLC's best practice reflects the culture and ethos of promoting intellectual initiative, the highest academic standards, teaching effectiveness, innovation and the courage and will to implement change. This has allowed the transfer of skills, sharing of best practice and integration of quality assurance processes with relative ease between strategic international partners and OLC over the last decade.