A SWOT Analysis and Respective Strategies in the
Development of Open Education at Open Universities
(School of Continuing Education, Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai 200083, China)
Abstract: In the development of open education, open universities have their own strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and external obstacles. This paper attempts to approach this issue from the SWOT analysis, a popular method in strategic management, so as to suggest practical strategies. Open universities have strengths in their unique organizational system, flexible curricular system, mature cyber technology and abundant experience in distant education. Meanwhile, they are weak in their brand image, human resource (faculty) and lack of funds. At present, the 12th "5-year-plan" throws new light on the policy of building an academic society, which provides a favorable regulatory, social and economical environment for the development of open education. According to an analysis of Porter's Five Forces of Competition, open universities' main threats are: rivalry from such institutions as traditional universities and threat of substitute services from traditional continuing education. Through the SWOT analysis and using different SWOT combinations, we identifiedthe intensive strategies, the reverse strategies, the diversification strategies, and the defensive strategies. For the current situation, open universities should focus on the intensive strategies and the diversification strategies, aided by the reverse strategies.
Key words: open education; open universities; SWOT analysis; strategies