Increasing access to university education through the distance education mainstreaming policy: The case of the University of Botswana
Judith W Kamau, Distance Education Unit, University of Botswana
In one of its strategic planning documents, UB beyond 10,000: A strategy for growth and shaping our future: A Strategic Plan to 2009 and Beyond, the university has committed itself to increasing educational opportunities in tertiary education through the distance education delivery mode. To achieve this goal the University of Botswana which is a dual mode institution promulgated a distance education mainstreaming policy in 2005,which attempts to incorporate distance education provision into the University vision, mission, policies and activities so that distance education can become a normal feature of the University business. The rationale for this policy is to make distance education an integral part of the UB vision and mission and as a result elevate distance education programmes to the same status as on-campus programmes. Thus the policy seeks to streamline distance education programmes into the institutional culture by aligning university rules, regulations and bureaucracies, student support and budgetary and decision- making processes with the needs of distance learners.
This paper analyses the issues that need to be addressed to facilitate integration of distance education programmes at the institutional level and the need for the university to get access to requisite resources from other institutions at the national level.
Programme initiation, materials development, production, and distribution processes and procedures: challenges and constraints including the use of ICT at the institutional and national level
Procedures for delivery of instruction, tutoring and counseling, assessment and accreditation, including maintenance of students records using appropriate distance education friendly, Information Technology System (ITS)
Quality assurance and programme review
Provision of decentralized learner support services, resource implications and sharing procedures with various stakeholders at the national level
Articulation between on-campus and distance delivered programmes
Benchmarking through comparison with operations in other dual mode institutions such as the University of Namibia and the Uni9versity of Zambia.
By sharing with others in the panel the author will compare the challenges distance education provision is facing at the University of Botswana with other dual mode institutions and make suggestions for improvement.
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