The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Claire Millington

From Colonies of Learning to Commonwealth of Learning: Some Thoughts on the Significance of Distance Education from the Preindependence Era.

Claire Millington
Barbados Community College

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     Last modified: August 7, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/02/2006 10:00 AM in NT Portland A
     (View Schedule)

There is often the perception that distance education is a recent phenomenon. The Education Reports of Barbados during the 1940s and 1950s reveal that there was a segment of the adult community pursuing degrees and other qualifications with British universities and educational bodies. There was quite clearly a vibrant system for studying by correspondence course from the UK at a time when there were limited educational opportunities within many British territories.
The purpose of this paper is to explore what lessons might be learnt from looking at distance education from this earlier period, and what research is needed to better understand the evolution of distance education and the role that it played, and continues to play, in the Comonwealth grouping.
The pursuit of educational qualifications by distance learning was undoubtedly beneficial to students; how it might have assisted in personal and national advancement will also be dicussed. The paper will also examine how much the nature of distance education has changed over the decades, and what legacies of the past are still to be surmounted.

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