The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Ali Fawaz Shareef

Distance Education in Small Island Nations

Ali Fawaz Shareef
Maldives College of Higher Education

Massey University

Lynn Jeffrey
Massey University

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     Last modified: August 3, 2006
     Presentation date: 10/31/2006 4:00 PM in ST Windsor B
     (View Schedule)

The paper looks at the issues on distance education for small island nations with a special emphasis on the use of information and communication technologies. The paper outlines the challenges faced in small island nations in providing distance education, mainly due to their geographical and socioeconomic conditions. Small island nations face barriers in infrastructure developments due to small populations living in the outer islands. Hence, the lack of infrastructure makes providing services such as education a major challenge. Distance education is seen as an alternative that can achieve universal access in these circumstances, but not without its own challenges. This paper looks at these challenges and some solutions to overcome some of the barriers. Maldives is taken as an example of a small island nation and focus is given on how distance education can be delivered to all the 200 inhabited islands in Maldives. The paper describes a CDROM/Hybrid distance education model developed for the Maldives and how it can be implemented in other small island nations. This model has been evaluated in the Maldives and has shown positive results. Finally the paper looks at other small island nations and how this model can be adapted to these islands.

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