Open Schooling in the 21st century by Dominique A.M.X. Abrioux and Frances Ferreira, Editors

By Dominique A.M.X. Abrioux and Frances Ferreira, Editors

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Open schools also need to employ teachers on a part-time or contract basis to act as tutors, write materials, mark assignments and do other work, but few countries have a reserve pool of qualified academic staff who can be employed for this purpose. These additional duties are going to be a matter of concern for school authorities who, understandably, want to ensure that learners in the classroom receive a teacher’s full attention. Similarly, in remote areas, schools may be the only suitable place for distance learners to gather for contact sessions.

Technology is not the best starting point Choices must be made about the media that will be used to deliver OS programmes, though the general tendency is to use as many different channels of communication as practicable. “New” technologies can be used on their own, but they can also enhance and support “old” technologies such as print and audio. However, ODL cannot succeed as a technology-driven enterprise. People and institutions are still much more important. As noted above, the first concern must be with the learner, especially the disadvantaged or marginalised learner.

Incorporating references to ODL in public statements of a government’s intentions can also raise the status of this form of education and demonstrate how it fits in with the education system as a whole. The same applies to policies for OS. From the point of view of government office-holders and officials, a well-articulated policy also has several advantages. It can enable planned development of the distance education system by: • creating a broad consensus on the most appropriate direction for the future development of OS; • contributing to the formulation of minimum standards of service delivery and assuring that OS programmes adhere to these; • heading off the creation of overlapping programmes and the duplication of facilities, particularly where these depend on state funding; • facilitating the planning of joint initiatives that maximise the value obtained for limited funding available from the state; and 22 Part II: Themes • increasing public awareness of opportunities to study through OS and popularising this approach.

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