Open Schools and Open Colleges: an international historical perspective on their institutional development and a case study of such development in Pakistan
The National Extension College was set up in the UK 50 years ago as ‘a pilot project for an Open University’. The establishment of the UKOU nine years later is often seen as a sea-change in the international development of open and distance learning. Several decades of rapid expansion of tertiary-level followed, eclipsing existing pre-tertiary-level ODL, then usually known as correspondence education. Its international expansion was, however, equally dramatic. // In 1989, in India, the National Open School of India was established as an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Human Resources Development Between 1987 and 2000 several similar, parastatal ODL bodies were established in Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, out of earlier national correspondence colleges. The expansion of Open Schools or Colleges has rivalled that of open universities in terms of number and of academic and government attention, especially under pressure to offer ‘education for all’ by 2015. // This paper first examines how open schooling has changed internationally over 50 years, in delivery media, administration and quality targets, and the causes and results of such changes in institutional development. It will identify some of the conditions for success of ODL at this level and indications of best practice. It will also suggest pitfalls in the path of such developments. It will look at different requirements for student support services for children, adolescents and adults. It will also tentatively look ahead. // The second half of the paper reviews, under similar sub-headings, the development of plans and pilot projects for pre-tertiary ODL for youth and adults, especially women and girls, launched by the Pakistan’s AIOU since 1974. This includes its recent decision to establish a national Open School. // Paper ID: 117
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