Education at Your Doorstep: Does the Doors Open for All?
The growth and development of education in the developed and developing countries occur along diverse parameters. In the words of Prof Ramanujam, “What really distinguishes the distance education of the developed countries from that of the developing world is the overall aim set for it In the developed countries the broad aim is to provide education to individuals who need it at different levels with different individual needs. In the developing countries the aim becomes collective one such as nation building, eradication of illiteracy, rural development, health education, women’s education, tribal education, education of the socially disadvantaged etc, besides the usual academic, technical and vocational programmes. (Ramanujam, 2002, 33). ODL has crucial significance in addressing critical educational challenges posed due to globalisation such as access, equity, cost, reaching disadvantaged groups and communities, need for lifelong learning and relevance (Khan, A., 200, p.462). But the world of globalization has been one where the rich have become richer while the developing world struggles to gain a share of world’s wealth. // The potential of distance education is stretched too far to meet every individual need which has not been met so far. This has put tremendous pressure on the systems of distance education, which are yet to take firm roots. (Ramanujam, 2002, 32-33) In one way, distance education is perceived as the solution for all the shortcomings of conventional face-to-face education in the developing countries. In another way, it is projected as the cost-effective, and therefore a cheep way of meeting the demands of education. In the process too little money is allocated to meet too many educational needs. As a matter of fact, much of the economic crises in the developing world can be traced to the same economic arguments. Because the educational budgets in these countries have been usually small, the standard and quality of education have not been very high. The spread of literacy and the expansion of education at different levels have suffered precisely because of the meager allocation made to all the educational projects. (Ramanujam, 2002, 33). // The educational advancement of a country over other countries is determined by the quality of education imparted through both the face to face and distance modes of teaching as well as the quantity of people who are benefited from such programmes. In other words, as long as the enrollment of learners in a system is not directly proportional to the rate of their success, no educational programme can be successful. Besides, the rate of success has to be uniform across all sections of students, particularly the disadvantaged ones.