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Distances et Savoirs

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 ARTICLE VOL 7/4 - 2009  - pp.733-735
Perspectives asiatiques

The Asian perspective

If we look at the growth and history of distance education, it can be noticed that although it emerged in Europe, it has shown tremendous potential and promise in the Asian region. Asia is the biggest of all the continents and there is a huge diversity in terms of culture, technology, infrastructure, showing both ends of development spectrum in terms of developed and developing nations. This is a timely book which looks at the developments in the field of open and distance learning (ODL). The Asian region has witnessed a lot of changes as a result of globalization, improved telecommunications network and educational standards (although there are still some countries where the pace of development is slow due to internal social aggressiveness). Distance education has been very successful and almost all the countries of the Asian region have open universities. These are in the form of single mode, dual mode or fast emerging convergence system. ICT is playing a pivotal role in these ODL institutions. This book brings out the initiatives, experiences, issues, problems and promises of ODL and ICT as seen and faced from Turkey to Japan and from Mongolia to Sri Lanka. The book contains 12 chapters. Chapter one deals with technology, e-readiness and e-learning readiness. It is clearly visible that all kinds of technology are being used by the Asian open universities ranging from simple radio lessons to mobile learning and satellite, however the challenge to strengthen technical provisions, affordability, digital rights and copyright, equity and access and teaching skills of teachers, remain a main concern. The second chapter looks into open schooling, SchoolNets and ICT integration into the classrooms. Strengthening open schooling is the need of the hour and different countries have taken steps to address the issues like overloaded curriculum, examinations, over crowded classes, inadequate hardware and courseware and lack of individualized or collaborative learning. The next chapter focuses on higher education. It traces out the origin of open education and its evolution over the time. The management styles, problems of dropout, use of technology, type of courses offered have been discussed critically. The authors cautions about the dangers in over-emphasising technology and under-emphasising pedagogy and quality.




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