Challenges in Providing Support Services to the Distant Learners if the School of Science and Technology at Bangladesh Open University

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Sub-theme: Livelihoods // Introduction: Open and distance education is the alternative educational process where learners take responsibility for their own learning. Bangladesh Open University (BOU) has been providing a wide variety of distance education programs extending learning opportunities to people across the country. School of Science and Technology (SST) is to create scientific and technically skilled manpower in the country. SST has developed its own specially designed text materials for Diploma in Computer Science and Application (DCSA) and Batchelor of Nursing (BSN) Programs. Distance education can be more learners centered if distance educators are aware of the problems, needs, attitudes and characteristics of their learners. This on going study tried to find out the learner’s need, problem and their attitudes towards the open learning. And also find out the way of the decision maker’s how they solve the problem and improve the quality of the distance learning programs in Bangladesh. // Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used. A multistage stratified proportionate to size sampling technique was used to select the sample from the learners’ of SST. Data is collecting using a structured pre-tested questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS. // Results: In this ongoing study, 244 learners were responded, among them 88.9% were female and the mean age was 35.2 years (minimum 23; maximum 52). On average total monthly family income of the adult learners was US$ 223 and had completed 16.9 years of study and residing around 32.4 km from the tutorial centers and more than 50% were from urban areas. Amongst the learners more than 80% expressed that SST programs were as usual but 13.1% expressed that difficult to understand where 94% were responded that text materials were up to the mark. Regarding the media programs, 72.4% of the learners gave their opinion that TV programs were at the level best but they wanted to watch these at the evening or night schedule. More than 90% learners’ were doing group discussion at the time of study and TMA preparation where 60% learners did not communicate with faculty of SST, BOU. // Conclusion: This study would like to find out the learners view on different study materials, learners attitudes towards the support services which they are provided time to time from tutorial centre, regional centre as well as the SST and BOU. We are expecting that the findings of this study will give some valuable information from the learners for the policy maker and future researcher. // Paper ID 306