Distance No Object; Students Access World of Learning from Home

Article excerpt

Students could soon be able to study at any university in the world from the comfort of their own home.

Thousands of universities will be switching on to distance learning in the next few years, a top finance chief has predicted.

"There's no reason why open universities couldn't set up anywhere in the world and beam their programmes and courses to anywhere in the world," Julian Schweitzer, director of the World Bank, told a conference in London.

The revolution in learning could help ease the financial crisis facing Britain's 160 universities.

The government is planning to introduce tuition fees of up to pounds 1,000 a year next autumn and scrap maintenance grants for students in order to sort out the cash shortfall.

But now sixth-formers who have just taken their A-levels could soon be able to stay at home and study through a distance learning course.

To many, it might seem a better option than taking loans of up to pounds 4,000 a year to pay the cost of their university education, experts believe.

One of the benefits of distance learning is that you can work at your own pace and decide how long to take to complete a course.

Hugh Smith, chairman of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, said: "More and more people have been combining higher education study with part-time work. …