The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Alison Mead Richardson

Comparative cost analysis in distance teacher education

Alison Mead Richardson
Kigali Institute of Education : Distance Training Office

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     Last modified: July 29, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/01/2006 11:45 AM in ST Windsor B
     (View Schedule)

Distance education is often hailed as the answer to African governments’ problems of educational provision. Claims are made that DE can improve the access to, and quality of, educational provision and at a lower unit cost. Distance education is chosen because of its power to stretch educational resources. It is indeed true, DE can provide greater access to quality education at a lower cost than conventional education – but so often it fails in one or more of these important elements.

This paper seeks to identify the important issues in the comparative cost analysis of distance and conventional teacher training in Rwanda. It will consider:
• coherence of student profiles
• the effects of student drop out
• economies of scale

The paper will show that in gross terms, the KIE distance teacher training programme is nearly 20% cheaper than the campus- based programme. However, if adjustments are made to take key issues in costing into account, then this differential is increased to make distance provision much more cost effective than the conventional programme.

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