Asian Leaders in Open and Distance Education
The Asian distance education system is probably the largest in the world. No other continent has seen such a serious policy discourse, as well as determined efforts in its practice, as Asia, since the focus invariably has been democratisation of education, access and equity, cost of education, and socio-cultural and political legitimacy through education as empowerment. Technology, which has taken centre stage in the Asian countries today, was a major consideration for such educational endeavours and could pave the way for successful implementation of earlier correspondence education, followed by distance, online and blended learning. This continent has seen great leaders who have contributed not only to their own system of education but also to the world, especially the Commonwealth. It may not be out of place to note that Asian leaders have risen to become vice president of the COL (G. Ram Reddy), president of COL (Gajaraj Dhanarajan and Asha S. Kanwar), president of ICDE, under whom the ICCE was rechristened as ICDE (Bakhshish Singh), and president of ICDE (Tian Belawati). It has been very difficult to select leaders of distance education as profiled in this article, and the utmost attempt has been made to avoid any subjectivity or personal bias. It has been a challenge to cover the entire spectrum of Asian countries to identify leaders and despite efforts this may not have been very comprehensive due to the enormity of activity and personnel involved in Asian distance education.