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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Open and Distance Learning Initiatives in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has made considerable progress in the field of distance education over the past three decades. Opportunities for Sri Lankan students to access both national and international educational organizations through technology are increasing. This will make a remarkable contribution to efforts directed at promoting equality of opportunity for all citizens across the chronic urban-rural divide.

The emergent distance learning projects of both the public and private sectors will naturally give a boost to the study of English and IT, which in fact are the key to such an education. (This brief survey cum discussion of mine will generally focus on English language teaching programmes.)

The term ‘distance learning’, as used in Sri Lanka, until very recently has referred to two modes of education where the teacher and the students are separated by time and space at least for part of the duration of a course: at the very beginning, it meant a course of study totally delivered through correspondence; in more recent times, we have begun to see that distance learning implies a mix of paper-based face-to-face instruction supplemented by self-access work by the students as in the case of the current Open University of Sri Lanka distance education courses. However, today, with more and more modern technology being integrated into education, distance learning is assuming a very different identity.

(Part II next Friday, september 3, 2010)

Source: The Island