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Open and Distance Learning Policy Framework – Access, Quality and Cost of Education

“Open and Distance Learning has the exceptional ability of meeting the challenges of the three vectors of dilemma in education delivery, – Access, Quality and Cost.” These were the words of Sir, John Daniel the President of Commonwealth of Learning. The proper answer to the challenges that these three, pose to provision of education for national development, goes a long way in determining the overall growth of a country.

Like a noted maxim said, “to develop a nation, develop the people”. Most nation goes today by providing free or heavily subsidized, accessible and qualitative Education to her citizens especially to children and youths at the elementary and intermediate stage respectively. The open and distance learning mode as a strategy for increasing access and for tremendously enhancing human capital generation.

Again the policy framework should be able to adequately provides the workings for these three vectors. The guidelines should expressly covers and address the challenge of access. This includes the use of wide range cost effective mode of delivering education contents with the aim of tackling the constraint of geographical distance barriers. Here the policy should address the following

  1. Use of postal services
  2. Radio ( both FM stations and SW Station)
  3. National television with national coverage.

For a very long time successive governments in Nigeria for instance, have consistently formulated Policies which were directed towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels despite the imbalances that pervades the system. Until in 2001, when the government made a bold step with the establishment if a National Open University(NOUN) with a seemingly political will to address profound gap of over 850,000 annual shortfall of candidates denied access to university education.

Open and Distance Learning(ODL) was the Government alternative model to the traditional conventional system, which was rather restricted and limited in scope. In response to the need for a more elastic and accessible model of education, Government opted for a semblance of Open and Distance education system. The use of postal services, radio, television for the pushing the agenda of ODL in this system of education is yet to be fully exploited in NOUN and the ODL system in Nigeria.

The exploitation of these media in implementing the objectives of ODL s very crucial for mass education. This will act and cushion the change effects of the introduction synchronous and synchronous technologies of elearning. In fact, the exploitation of these mass media provide the best platform to introduce these internet technologies for the furtherance of mass education.

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