Policy for Open and Distance Learning

Policy for Open and Distance Learning

Policy for Open and Distance Learning

Policy for Open and Distance Learning

Synopsis

Policy for Open and Distance Learning considers the questions that planners and policy makers in open and distance learning need to address at any level of education. Starting by analysing the range of purposes for which open and distance learning is used, the book places the issues in context and examines experience in both the public and private sector. As well as discussing in detail new agenda set by new information and communication technologies, the book covers: * Inputs * Processes * Outcomes. The editors, Hilary Perraton and Helen Lentell, have drawn together an international team of contributors who have examined the varied roles of the new technologies as well as low-technology approaches to open and distance learning throughout the world. This book will be invaluable to policy makers in education and those planning or managing open and distance learning programmes. It will also be of interest to students and teachers of education and anyone concerned with comparative education.

Excerpt

In a world whose vigour and well-being depends in good measure on expanding knowledge, provision for lifelong education is no longer an option for a few but a necessity for all. Universal provision entails reforming educational systems so that education and training can reach out to people wherever they live, work, socialise and rest. Many nation states have already embarked on such educational transformations while others are still considering them. Those falling into the former category are mostly the high- and middle-income countries and those in the latter category are mostly in the developing economies.

Distance, open and flexible learning is not a new phenomenon. In one way or another some form of organised distance education has been in existence for well over a hundred years. However, contemporary distance and open learning differs considerably and in a variety of ways from the historical version. In some countries, specialised single-mode institutions have been created to deliver education at a distance; in others, departments of external studies have taken on the task, and in yet others, ministries of education or their departments have been mandated to offer open-learning programmes. The past few years have seen the emergence of for-profit organisations and entrepreneurs embarking on online and virtual learning. Some of these ventures, such as the open universities of Britain, India, South Africa and Hong Kong, have been extremely successful, while many others have not yet matched their promise. At the heart of success or failure are sound and clearly defined policy frameworks at national and institutional levels.

This volume of the World Review of Distance Education and Open Learning recognises the expanding role of distance education and considers through its thirteen chapters the policies and structures of governments and organisations that are making it possible. The purpose of the exercise is to highlight those arrangements that work, to enable distance and open learning to progress, and also to identify factors that are likely to impede the system's development. Readers will note that, despite the three to four decades of contemporary distance education, many institutions and many

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