Planning a Quality Education System: Using Technology to Increase Access to University Education

Planning a Quality Education System: Using Technology to Increase Access to University Education

C. W. S. Sukati (University of Swaziland, Swaziland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-779-4.ch004
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Responding to the social, technological, economic and political (STEP) environmental factors, UNISWA established the Institute of Distance Education (IDE) in 1994 to increase access to university education by offering its programmes using the distance education delivery mode. The success achieved by this intervention has led to a number of problems and challenges that now confront the Institute which work against the realization of its goals. An evaluation of these challenges points to the urgent need to use new ICTs in the delivery of content. Doing this, would enable the institution to increase its enrolments at a lower cost per enrolled student. It would further lead to the blurring of the boundaries between the conventional university and the IDE. This chapter argues for the use of online learning, and the need for a new strategic plan for the university.
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Setting The Stage

At the Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning held at Ocho Rios, Jamaica in October/November, 2006, a special session was organized to discuss the unique challenges that face dual-mode institutions. Key papers were presented in this session by Ms. J. N. Aguti from Makerere University in Uganda, Prof. R. Siaciwena of the University of Zambia, and Dr. O. Tau from the University of Botswana. The author, who attended the session, noted that the challenges that were highlighted were similar to those faced by the IDE at UNISWA. These presentations left the author with one major question: how can these challenges be addressed, and what organizational structures, delivery modes and mechanisms should be devised and adopted to increase access to a quality education at a competitive cost? This chapter seeks to address this question.

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