Bernadette Robinson and Colin Latchem
There is increasing and strong interest among governments, institutions, international agencies and teachers themselves in the use of open and distance education methods and technologies for initial training and continuing professional development for teachers. The last decade has seen considerable growth in the number and diversity of distance education programmes, the integration of distance education with traditional provision and new initiatives using information and communication technologies (ICT). These trends are prompted by the need to meet teacher shortages, the demand for more continuing education for teachers in a changing world, the shift of attention from quantity to quality by policymakers and planners, the introduction of new teacher education standards as countries progress, the new opportunities afforded by ICT, a search for improved training approaches and the imperative of finding new ways of using scarce resources.
International agencies, such as the World Bank, UNESCO, the Asian Development Bank, and the Commonwealth of Learning, and donors, such as the Department for International Development, UK; the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and AusAid (among many others), are giving new emphasis to distance education in their policies and plans for teacher education. Distance education is appearing more often as an option in the strategic planning of governments and traditional teacher training institutions (universities and colleges).
As a result, policy-makers and planners at several levels (international, national, provincial and institutional) are in need of up-to-date information about the use of open and distance learning for teacher education and some guidance in its application. Such information can be difficult to find because reports of experience are scattered over many sources, often in the grey literature of project reports or institutional documents, or are unpublished or dated or restricted to the level of description.
To provide an up-to-date resource, this book addresses a range of planning and implementation issues in the use of open and distance learning, taking an international perspective. It draws on the international expertise and experience of professional planners and practitioners who describe