Professional Development of teachers through open and distance learning: The case of the University of Buea Distance Education (DED) programme

Mufer, Wirsiy H
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Open and Distance Learning is relatively new to Cameroon’s educational system; though many countries are adopting it as a way of widening access to education and improving the academic and pedagogic qualification of their teachers. The quality of any educational system can never rise above the quality of its teachers. Faced with new challenges and global trends in education, and at the same time wanting to meet up the “Education for all” slogan, the Cameroon government through the University of Buea opted to introduce Open and Distance Learning programmes for nursery and primary school teachers. This paper discusses the methods adopted in bringing distance education to in-service primary school teachers across the country, the challenges faced and some of the strategies put in place to overcome them. The programme is delivered through learning centres located in some five major cities of Cameroon and managed by Learning Centre Coordinators. Learning materials are entirely print-based and getting them to the learning centres is a major challenge. Limited number of qualified staff in learning centres further makes the teaching/learning process more challenging. Additionally, most learners still do not have the skills to use information and communication technologies in accessing the content. However, some of the strategies adopted by the University of Buea, as the programme coordination unit in delivering the course content to learning centres is by public transportation. During holidays lecturers come from the Faculty of Education of the University of Buea to provide support to learners via lectures in the learning centres. In 2012, the first batch of students graduated with a Bachelor of Education Degree after four years of studies. As a result many more students are enrolling in the programme. // Paper ID: 188
Skills Development, Professional Development, Teacher Education, Open and Distance Learning (ODL)