Strategies for sustainable learner support services in developing nations
Learner Support Services, National Open University of Nigeria
presented by Professor Olugbemiro Jegede
University of Nigeria
Last modified: October 17, 2006
Presentation date: 11/02/2006 4:15 PM in ST Windsor A
Developing nations are anxious to provide mass access to higher education for the citizenry. Open and Distance Learning seems to be the most reliable means which combine accessibility and affordability for the individual and cost efficiency for government and providers. However, issues like appropriate technology, acceptable academic culture and practices, enabling infrastrucutre, and various individual characteristics need to be attended to. Open and distance learning institutions could help provide mass access; it could help reduce the cost of university education, it could help meet the yearnings of the individual for university admission and could help rebuild confidence in those who struggled for places in conventional universities that all is not lost. But, all these do not guarantee success. ODL instituions need support services which help reduce to the barest minimum, issues of isolation, lack of motivation or inability to self motivate. There is thus need for a sustainable learner support services.
This paper discusses the various ways of making such services sustainable in developing nations. It discusses the cost effectiveness of support services, it compares the cost of high attrition rate with that of high completion rate, examines the concept of community ownership of study centres and how this can work in developing nations where the citizenry believes that government has to provide all things; and discusses the attitudinal disposition of consumers of services in study centres in relation to sustainability.