Accessing Education in the New Millennium: The Road to Success and Development Through Open and Distance Learning in the Commonwealth

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF2 // With the ever changing economic situations, technological advancement, political situations and societal expectations of countries, the developing countries of The Commonwealth increasingly find themselves with more and more barriers to overcome in order to make education accessible to more and more people. Innovativeness and dynamism of thought are therefore called for in the provision of education. Open Learning and Distance Education is one way in which some countries have found as a way forward in the provision of reasonably priced mass education. // In order for people in the developing countries of The Commonwealth to successfully access open learning, there are a number of barriers which must be overcome. This paper is going to look at the way forward in the provision of Open Learning in the developing countries of The Commonwealth with particular reference to barriers to access and success vis–a-vis development. Such barriers to access as poverty, lack of infrastructure such as buildings, transmission technology such as internet links, telecommunication links, libraries, road networks, bridges, lack of human and material resources, lack of funds, language, societal barriers; for example customs that affect the education of females, the disabled and the poor among others will be discussed. Holmberg (1989) cited in Ogili (1998) cites the availability of transport services, library services, support staff, warehousing services, finance, study centres, and road networks etcetera as necessary for distance education programmes. // In addition to the above, such barriers to success and development as corruption, lack of professionals, lack of sound management practice, poor reward systems for staff and lack of staff development among others will be discussed by the paper. The paper will also make suggestions as to the way forward in overcoming these barriers to access and success to Open Learning with the view to discussing and sharing ideas with colleagues. //