Higher Education through Open and Distance Learning

By Keith Harry | Go to book overview

Chapter 9

Asia

The largest growth area of single-mode open universities during the 1970s and 1980s was Asia. National institutions were established during this period in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Similar institutions have since been established in Bangladesh, Hong Kong and Taiwan, ROC. Several of these institutions are documented in this volume—by Chung (Taiwan, ROC), Ding (China), Murphy and Fung (Hong Kong), Panda (India) and Rumble (Bangladesh). Although belonging to the same genre, these national institutions differ from one another very significantly. The most frequently occurring common characteristics are size of student population (several have over 100,000 enrolled students) and objectives—almost every one sets out to provide degree-level opportunities in far greater numbers than the conventional system could otherwise make available.

Differences between the institutions are inevitable given the nature of the disparity between cultures, resources and topography of the various countries which are served. Some institutions, however, are unique not only in the Asian region but beyond. Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan, for example, offers an extraordinarily wide range of courses from adult basic education to postgraduate levels. Indira Gandhi National Open University, India, in addition to offering its own courses nationally, is responsible for coordinating and regulating distance education in India’s state open universities and its conventional universities’ correspondence education institutes. Universitas Terbuka, Indonesia, has to cope with the problems of delivering courses to the numerous islands of which the country is comprised. The Open University of Hong Kong, until recently the Open Learning Institute of Hong Kong, initially offered many courses which were acquired through agreements with institutions in other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom. This situation has changed, with the institution adapting to Hong Kong’s new political location.

Although single-mode institutions have been established so widely and successfully throughout Asia, the global trend towards the emergence of dual-mode institutions can also be observed in many countries. India, China

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