The Open University (OU) in the UK today initiated a two-day workshop in Accra to facilitate dialogue on open and distance learning (ODL), as a tool for enhancing access to higher education in Ghana.
The workshop, dubbed: “Strengthening Higher Education Systems in Ghana,” was organised in collaboration with the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the Ministry of Education’s Centre for Distance Learning (CENDLOS), to review the current landscape of distance education in Ghana and prospects of ODL.
The 60 participants comprising experts from the UK, higher education and local experts in distance learning models will share their experiences with the hope of setting an agenda for a National Policy Framework on Distance Learning.
At the end of the workshop the expected outcome includes the definition of the prospects, opportunities and roadmap for a National Open Distance Learning policy while the key drivers and components will ensure that Ghana successfully implements and benefits from the full potential of ODL.
The OU is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning.
Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students with more than 15,000 overseas.
Mr Daniel Nti, Director, International Development Office, at the OU said ODL is a platform that ensures accessibility acceptable to all in any part of the globe and made reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26), which says: “Higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.”
He said ODL accounts for 35 per cent undergraduates in the UK, studying part time, while the OU is ranked top three in research involving 1,200 students.
Mr Nti said for the last 20 years the university had focused on international development and working with 12 African countries.
He said the working relationship comprise a number of tertiary institutions in Ghana, including University of Cape Coast, University of Education, Winneba, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
Mr Joshua Mallet, Director of CENDLOS said the facility is taking care of junior high schools (JHS,) senior high school (SHS), colleges of education and the polytechnics.
CENDLOS has developed a complete teaching on video compact disc in English and Mathematics for JHS students.
Mr Mallet said 535 SHS have also received materials in eight subjects including physics, chemistry and biology.
Since 1996 the colleges of education have started a three-year in-in-out training programme.
Professor Mahama Duwieja Mahama, Executive Council for NCTE said Ghana is hopeful to move distance education forward, stressing on accessibility and quality as the key components.
Prof Steve Swithenby of OU said ODL is a platform for people who are desperate to get the education of their choice.
The OU was the highest-rated university in 2012, and the in the top three of the UK universities every year since 2012 in the National Student Survey’s measure of student satisfaction.
More than 500,000 teachers on 19 teacher education programmes have benefitted from the OUs Teacher Education in sub-Saharan Africa Project.