Trends and Future Directions in Open and Distance Learning Practice in Africa

Maruff Akinwale OLADEJO, Abiodun M GESINDE


Open and Distance Learning (ODL), formerly known as Distance Education (DE) is one of the most rapidly growing fields of education in recent time. Distance education has experienced remarkable growth in national and international scenes since the early 1980s. In spite of recent phenomenal developments in the world of electronic networks, especially the recent global attention to the Internet, which has provided the primary technological thrust, several other emerging technologies have also promised to change the landscape of education in general, and distance education in particular drastically. The field of distance education is therefore, at the centre of dynamic growth and change. This paper focuses on current trends in ODL from African perspective. It examines some of the definitions that have been put forward by experts in the field, as well as some features that characterized ODL. The paper also reflects on some practices in Africa’s ODL programmes. Furthermore, current trends in the practice of ODL in African countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Bostwana and Nigeria are critically discussed. Some of the policy recommendations highlighted in the paper include the need to invest more in ODL through meaningful budgetary allocations and cost sharing at higher levels of education, creation of partnerships and networking among ODL institutional providers within the continent, private telecommunication sector, and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

Keywords: Open-Distance Learning, Trends, Policy, Distance education, Africa

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