Evaluating the Internal Efficiency of Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan
Shah, S. Wajid Ali, Akhtar, Sajjad Hayat, Din, Muhammad Naseer Ud, Distance Learning
T- he Islamic Republic of Pakistan is confronted with a rapidly increasing rate of population growth. This has created difficulty in providing the basic necessities of life to masses. It is useful to evaluate the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) system of education for identifying its strength and weaknesses. There is a need for systematic evaluation of the internal efficiency of AIOU system because resources are always limited. Haddad (2000) defined internal efficiency as the total number of pupil-years spent by repeaters and dropouts. Self-reliance of educational institution is an indicator of its efficiency. Self-reliance is enhanced by raising the internal efficiency in the use of resources and by reducing educational wastage. According to Hellwig (1971, p. 190), "student wastage" provides an indication of the inefficiency of an education process and the individual's reaction to the process. In educational institutions, national resources such as money, physical plant and facilities, and the labour of teachers are being wasted due to dropouts. An efficient educational institution educates a given number of people with minimum cost. The educators would like to know about the efficient utilization of resources allocated to certain educational institution because the inefficient use of efforts or resources results in decreasing the output. In their quest to meet the social demand for education given limited resources, ministries of education around the world have sought to eliminate educational wastage.
The researchers in the context of wastage in education have considered the question of internal efficiency. The problem of wastage highlights a crucial dimension of inefficiency in the system. The internal efficiency is usually measured through considerations of dropouts and repetition of students. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (1980, p.18) has estimated that 25% of all primary school places in the developing world are lost due to educational wastage.
Dropping out of school is often caused by social or economic factors, which is further reinforced by a lack of ability of the student or lack of qualified teachers. In this context wastage in AIOU also requires special attention for the removal of educational inefficiencies. The AIOU system requires adapting the system to minimize the wastage and retain the maximum number of the students enrolled into a course until the cycle of that course has been satisfied.
Total wastage reflects the problem of repetition and dropout on the flow of promotions within an educational system. The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (Hellwig, Brimer, & Blot, 1972) conducted a survey through out the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization member states, with a view to evaluate the combined and separate effects of repetition and dropout, as a factor of educational wastage, and their incidence on the internal efficiency in education systems.
Guruge (1981) relates internal efficiency to the inner working of the educational institution. Wijk (1983) considers it a fallacy to apply the same yardstick to formal classroom and distance teaching institutions. In the report of International Congress of Open and Distance Teaching Universities (1983), Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University's system was evaluated in terms of survival rate and in term of the holding power of the university. Stephen (1983, p. 30) is of the view that statistics regarding the results in Athabasca University are very confusing because a significant number of students who enroll in courses simply fail to make a start in their studies. According to him, those students who do in fact start (excluding from the calculation that do not) should be considered as course completers. Similarly, Smith (1979) prefers to measure the achievement of the University of New England by measuring the capacity of the university to retain students once they are enrolled. …