Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Community Knowledge of, and Views towards Open and Distance Learning and Employment Creation

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Community Knowledge of, and Views towards Open and Distance Learning and Employment Creation

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study sought to establish the knowledge and views of the parents concerning distance education at tertiary level so as to develop strategies around job-creation based growth and investment policies for the formal sector. Their children represent the potential catchment area for tertiary institutions, including open and distance learning. It is the role of parents to guide their children, search for identity with their prospective career choices in terms of career development and students require information, relevant to suit their capabilities, values and opportunities. Open and Distance Learning is a term that covers various forms of study in which students are not necessarily continuously and immediately supervised or tutored by lecturers. The main question therefore was what are the knowledge levels, and views of parents regarding Open and Distance Learning, and what quality promotion strategies do they recommend towards distance education and employment creation? Parent's contributions would consolidate formal sector employment and minimize the proportion of people in human poverty. The study established that the community view Open and Distance Education as being inferior and meant for students who could not meet requirements of conventional institutions. The significance of the study was that Open and Distance institutions need to improve their marketing strategies in an effort to concertize the community about their mandate. This in turn would improve employment creation.

Keywords: open and distance learning, knowledge, attitudes and employment creation.

INTRODUCTION

Distance education is a form of teaching and learning where the learner and teacher are separated in terms of time and space. Open learning and distance education refers to approaches to learning that focus on freeing learners from constraints of time and place while offering flexible learning opportunities.Unlike students in conventional institutions who spend long spells of time with their teachers in teaching/learning situations, distance learners experience little or no time with their teachers. Depending on the theoretical orientation of each distance education institution, several modes of instruction have been developed to help learning of students to take place.

Previously in Zimbabwe students who embarked on distance education were from the disadvantaged families, whose income could not afford conventional tertiary education. They were financially disadvantaged and in some instance their performance could not be accommodated in conventional colleges. The issue of inadequacy of places at conventional colleges also hindered students to embark on programmes of their choices at conventional colleges. Hence society viewed it as inferior education. However with the advent of technological advancement, economic growth, and diverse knowledge, world over there has been a draftshiftfrom conventional tertiary education to distance education(ODL) in order to accommodate those who are unable to study through the conventional way. With human rights movement and considering that majority of students attend tertiary education after having attained the age of majority, some will be already family members hence attending to conventional colleges would disadvantage their families. It is away of combining work and family responsibilities with educational opportunities.

In Open and distance education much of the learning takes place away from the teacher and the distance learning institution. The student is provided with learner support materials and is expected to grow into an independent learner, with the institution giving a helping hand at the request of the learner. It is also important to mention that distance learners engage in their academic work while at the same time they go about their day-to-day assignments like full time employment.

While it is conceivable and understandable that distance education could generate apprehension, if not downright cynicism, among educational purists, who have continually questioned its credibility as a viable source of education, there is ample evidence today that distance education makes possible the rapid and inexpensive provision of instruction of consistent quality to large and scattered populations, (Daniel, 1991). …

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