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Global Concept Of Distance Education


Global concept of Distance Education:

In the developing world, since the 1950’s, the population has doubled to over 7.5 billion people, most of whom want to be literate and want greater educational opportunities for themselves and their children. The majority of this expanding population is in Asia where there are massive problems of poverty, illiteracy and disease.

In most developing countries, such as Bangladesh, distance education offers the promise of a system of information distribution through which new ideas, attitudes and understanding might begin to ooze through the layers of the disadvantaged environments.

  • Drawing upon the well known model of the British Open University, countries such as Pakistan, India and China have combined modern methods of teaching with emerging technologies in order to provide low-cost instruction for basic literacy and job training. Turkey has recently joined those nations involved in large scale distance learning to make a global platform. Only 20 years old, their distance education program has enrolled almost one million students and is the 6th largest distance education program in the world.

  • Because of the economies of size and distribution, both industrialized, and developing countries have embarked upon distance education programs. In the early 1980’s, record numbers of students in developing countries have gained access to higher education through distance education programs. In many cases, local experts are not available to develop original programs in the language and culture of the people. For this reason, the majority of educational programs is either used intact from the host country or is superficially translated with very few adaptations to the local culture. When this is done, the results are often unsuccessful. The cultural values of the program designer become dominant, desirable, and used as the standard.

  • There are many examples of programs from North America, Australia, Great Britain, and Europe that were purchased but never used in Africa and Asia because the material was not relevant in those countries. Because the appropriate design of instructional material is a critical element in its effectiveness, the issue of “who designs what and for whom” is central to any discussion of the economic, political, and cultural dangers that face distance educators using information technologies. There have been a variety of efforts to identify theoretical foundations for the study of distance education. Thus far, there has been little agreement about which theoretical principles are common to the field and even less agreement on how to proceed in conducting programmatic research.

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