National ODL Policy and Practice in the Commonwealth

Table of Contents

Introduction

Policy can shape new practice or codify current practice to guide future practice. In this regard, Mays (2020) points to the work of Rizvi and Lingard (2010), who indicate there is no single agreement on what a policy is or should be or how it should be constituted; however, their review of the literature suggests the following important considerations for what policy should:

  • indicates what a government chooses to do or not to do; in some contexts, the absence of policy could be construed as an expression of a policy position.
  • delineates a field of activity — e.g., distance education or ODL or open schooling.
  • refers to the actions and positions taken by the state regarding a selected range of providers.
  • is normative, indicating both ends or intents and means or actions to influence practice.
  • refers to things that can be achieved in areas over which authority can be exercised.
  • exists as a text that can be accessed and debated; but
  • evolves from a process that is often contested and subject to review; and therefore
  • is subject to ongoing modification in the process of implementation and in response to changing contexts.
  • is mediated in practice by providers; and so
  • is part of an ongoing discourse; and
  • is usually located within a collection of related policies; and
  • is increasingly influenced by global rather than just national perspectives.

As Strauss and Borenstein (2015) observe, policy can sometimes have unintended consequences — in the case of Brazil, for example, a deregulation policy led to a massive growth in low-quality private provision in a few disciplinary areas requiring minimal investment in infrastructure. With respect to private cross-border provision, or collaborative provision, of new possibilities such as MOOCs, Rambe and Moeti (2016) caution against wholesale adoption of programmes developed elsewhere and posit the need to allow for at least some adaptation to context. Policy and planning therefore go together, and the authors suggest that systems dynamics modelling could be a useful way to explore the possible impact of policy and planning decisions.

An initial search for “distance” policies yielded several institutional policies and policy statements but relatively few at the government or state level, and even fewer at the schooling level, outside of the open schools and open universities with which COL has previously engaged. As Makoe (2018) observes, there may well be mention of the potential of ODL in more general educational policy documents, but this is seldom carried over into the development of distinct national ODL policy and planning frameworks.

Many institutions now offer one or more courses using distance education, blended learning or online methods, sometimes in the absence of any national or institutional policy. Where national policies exist, they are not necessarily available in a digital format online, and some have not been updated in several years. Sometimes, issues related to ODL provision are embedded in other policy documents — e.g., ICT policies or education sector plans (please see Appendices 1 and 2, which provide examples of the evolving nature of ODL policy and practice in Malaysia and South Africa).

This document includes examples of available policies that could inform new policy development in countries where a policy framework currently does not exist or needs to be updated. Appendix 3 contains links to several of COL’s policy resources that might prove useful.

We can also learn from existing practice. Several open schools and open universities in the Commonwealth offer access even for learners without formal qualifications. There are also increasing numbers of dual-mode providers.

As Mishra (2021) argues, formal ODL practice involves a concerted commitment and conscious decision to use distance education. The listings here therefore focus only on institutions and organisations that have formally adopted such methods for all or some of their provision.

Africa

Botswana

Policy

Practice

Schooling

University

  • Botswana Open University (ODL mode): https://www.bou.ac.bw
    BOU Policies (see OER Policy, November 2019; Strategy for Technology Enhanced Learning, Teaching, Assessment and Student Support, September 2019; Learning Analytics Policy, June 2019; the BOU E-Tutor Model, September 2020).
  • University of Botswana (Dual Mode) – Distance Education: https://www.ub.bw/study/distance-education

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/botswana

 

Cameroon

Policy

Practice

Public institutions offering one or more distance/online courses, often in partnership with external institutions:

Private institutions:

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/cameroon

 

Eswatini

Policy

Practice

Schooling

University

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/eswatini

 

The Gambia

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/gambia

 

Ghana

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/ghana

 

Kenya

Policy

Practice

Schooling

University

All of the following universities offer some distance education/online learning:

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/kenya

 

Lesotho

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/lesotho

 

Malawi

Policy

Practice

Schooling

University

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/malawi

 

Mauritius

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/mauritius

 

Mozambique

Policy:

  • Mozambique has a Distance Learning Strategy 2013–2018. The strategy is to be evaluated and used to guide the development of a new strategy.
  • There is a Distance Learning Regulation, which was approved by the Council of Ministers, Decree Number 35/2009, on 7 July 2009.
  • To support the development of this decree, a manual for providers of distance education was developed, as well as a manual of internal procedures.
  • All these documents are available in Portuguese on request from Instituto Nacional de Educação à Distância/National Institute of Distance Education

Practice:

Higher Education

Technical and Vocational Education

General Secondary Education

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/mozambique

 

Namibia

Policy

Practice

Schooling

  • Namibian College of Open Learning: https://namcol.edu.na/
    • An institutional OER policy was approved by NAMCOL’s board in 2014.
    • An OER policy for the Namibian Open Learning Network Trust (NOLNet) was approved in June 2020.

University

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/namibia

 

Nigeria

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/nigeria

 

Rwanda

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/rwanda

 

Seychelles

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/seychelles

 

Sierra Leone

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/sierra-leone

 

South Africa

Policy (please also see the discussion in Appendix 2)

Practice

Apart from the University of South Africa, which is a dedicated ODeL institution, many other universities now also offer distance education courses. These are official Distance Education Modes, not the blended flexible learning that all universities have embarked on since the lockdown in March 2020.

Numbers of students enrolled in public HEIs in South Africa, by attendance mode, in 2019.

Institution Contact
Total
Distance
Total
Cape Peninsula University of Technology 33,475 466
University of Cape Town 28,603 38
Central University of Technology, Free State 21,225 0
Durban University of Technology 35,442 0
University of Fort Hare 16,982 0
University of the Free State 37,075 4,430
University of Johannesburg 50,064 526
University of KwaZulu-Natal 49,512 646
University of Limpopo 21,490 0
Mangosuthu University of Technology 14,328 0
University of Mpumalanga 3,471 0
Nelson Mandela University 29,478 12
North West University 44,647 19,024
University of Pretoria 48,943 1,651
Rhodes University 8,247 0
Sefako Makgatho Health Science University 6,456 0
Sol Plaatje University, Northern Cape 1,994 0
University of South Africa 0 342,797
University of Stellenbosch 31,523 0
Tshwane University of Technology 66,552 1,121
University of Venda 16,783 0
Vaal University of Technology 21,927 0
Walter Sisulu University 33,572 0
University of Western Cape 23,784 0
University of Witwatersrand 40,710 180
University of Zululand 17,738 0
Totals 704,021 370,891

 

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/south-africa

 

Tanzania

Policy

Practice

Basic Education/Schooling

  • The Institute of Adult Education (IAE): https://www.iae.ac.tz/en
    IAE has ODL education programmes starting at the secondary-school level via open schooling and regional centres. IAE also runs ODL programmes at the tertiary level, intended to prepare facilitators and administrators of adult and non-formal education programmes in the local government authority areas. A list of the 151 public open schools and 516 stakeholder-owned open schools affiliated with IAE can be accessed here.

University

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/tanzania

 

Uganda

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/uganda

 

Zambia

Policy

Practice

Schooling

University

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/zambia

 

Multi-country – Africa

African Council for Distance Education: https://acde-afri.org/

African Virtual University

Distance Education Association of Southern Africa: http://www.deasa.org/

Southern African Development Community

Policy

Practice

 

Asia

Bangladesh

Policy

Practice

Schooling

University

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/bangladesh

 

Brunei Darussalam

Policy

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/brunei-darussalam

 

India

Policy

Practice

Open Schools

Open universities

Dual-mode universities

Name of the University State Link to the University Site
Acharya Nagarjuna University (state university) Andhra Pradesh https://www.nagarjunauniversity.ac.in/indexanu.html
Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Anantapuramu (state university) http://skuniversity.ac.in/

 

Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalayam (state university) https://www.spmvv.ac.in/

 

Rajiv Gandhi University (central university) Arunachal Pradesh https://rgu.ac.in/

 

Himalayan University, Itanagar (private university) https://www.himalayanuniversity.com/

 

Assam Don Bosco University (private university) Assam https://www.dbuniversity.ac.in/

 

Gauhati University (state university) https://www.gauhati.ac.in/

 

Dibrugarh University (state university) https://dibru.ac.in/

 

Tezpur University (central university) http://www.tezu.ernet.in/

 

Lalit Narayan Mithila University (state university) Bihar https://lnmu.ac.in/

 

Patna University (state university) https://patnauniversity.ac.in/

 

Magadh University, Gaya (state university) https://www.magadhuniversity.ac.in/

 

Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University, Muzaffarpur (state university) https://www.brabu.net/

 

Panjab University (state university) Chandigarh https://www.puchd.ac.in/

 

Chandigarh University (private university) https://www.cuchd.in/

 

Dr. C.V. Raman University (private university) Chhattisgarh https://www.cvru.ac.in/

 

Kalinga University, Raipur (private university) https://kalingauniversity.ac.in/

 

Mats University, Raipur (private university) https://matsuniversity.ac.in/

 

Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi (central university) Delhi https://www.jmi.ac.in/

 

Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi (central university) http://www.ignou.ac.in/

 

University of Delhi (central university) http://www.du.ac.in/

 

Central Sanskrit University (deemed to be university) http://www.sanskrit.nic.in/

 

Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi (deemed to be university) http://jamiahamdard.edu/

 

Sabarmati University, Ahmedabad (private university) Gujarat https://www.sabarmatiuniversity.edu.in/

 

Chaudhary Devi Lal University (state university) Haryana https://www.cdlu.ac.in/

 

Maharshi Dayanand University (state university) https://mdu.ac.in/

 

Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology (state university) http://www.gjust.ac.in/

 

Lingaya’s Vidyapeeth (deemed to be university) http://lingayasvidyapeeth.edu.in/

 

Himachal Pradesh University (state university) Himachal Pradesh https://hpuniv.ac.in/

 

University of Kashmir (state university) Jammu & Kashmir https://www.kashmiruniversity.net/

 

Mangalore University (state university) Karnataka https://mangaloreuniversity.ac.in/ 
JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research, Mysuru (deemed to be university) https://www.jssuni.edu.in/JSSWeb/WebHome.aspx

 

 

Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal (private university) https://manipal.edu/mu.html

 

Bangalore University (state university) https://bangaloreuniversity.ac.in/

 

Kuvempu University (state university) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuvempu_University
University of Mysore (state university) https://uni-mysore.ac.in/

 

Jain University (deemed to be university) https://www.jainuniversity.ac.in/

 

University of Kerala (state university) Kerala https://www.keralauniversity.ac.in/

 

Calicut University (state university) https://uoc.ac.in/

 

Kannur University (state university) https://kannuruniversity.ac.in/en/

 

University of Mumbai (state university) Maharashtra https://mu.ac.in/

 

Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwa Vidyalaya (central university) https://hindivishwa.org/

 

Shivaji University (state university) http://www.unishivaji.ac.in/

 

Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University (state university) https://sndt.ac.in/

 

DY Patil Vidyapeeth, Mumbai (deemed to be university) http://www.dypatil.edu/

 

Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University, Nagpur (state university) https://kksanskrituni.digitaluniversity.ac/

 

Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune (deemed to be university) https://bvuniversity.edu.in/

 

Barkatullah University (state university) Madhya Pradesh http://www.bubhopal.ac.in/1068/Home

 

Jiwaji University (state university) http://www.jiwaji.edu/

 

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Vedic Vishwavidyalaya (private university) http://www.mmyvv.com/

 

Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya (state university) https://www.dauniv.ac.in/

 

Mahatma Gandhi Chitrakoot Gramodaya (state university) http://gramodayachitrakoot.ac.in/

 

Rabindranath Tagore University, Bhopal (private university) https://rntu.ac.in/

 

Amity University, Gwalior (private university) https://www.amity.edu/gwalior/

 

Fakir Mohan University (state university) Odisha http://www.fmuniversity.nic.in/

 

Maharaja Sriram Chandra Bhanja Deo University (State University) http://www.nou.nic.in/

 

Punjabi University (state university) Punjab http://www.punjabiuniversity.ac.in/

 

Lovely Professional University (private university) https://www.lpu.in/

 

I.K. Gujral Punjab Technical University, Kapurthala (state university) https://ptu.ac.in/

 

Pondicherry University (state university) Pondicherry https://www.pondiuni.edu.in/

 

Jaipur National University (private university) Rajasthan https://www.jnujaipur.ac.in/

 

Jain Vishva Bharati Institute (deemed to be university) https://jvbi.ac.in/

 

Suresh Gyan Vihar University (private university) https://www.gyanvihar.org/

 

Jagannath University (private university) https://www.jagannathuniversity.org/

 

Jayoti Vidyapeeth Women’s University (private university) https://jvwu.ac.in/index.html
Amity University, Jaipur (private university) https://www.amity.edu/jaipur/

 

JECRC University, Vidhani (private university) https://jecrcuniversity.edu.in/

 

University of Madras (state university) Tamil Nadu https://www.unom.ac.in/

 

Anna University (state university) https://www.annauniv.edu/

 

Manomaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli (state university) https://www.msuniv.ac.in/

 

Tamil University (state university) https://www.tamiluniversity.ac.in/

 

Tamilnadu Physical Education and Sports University (state university) https://www.tnpesu.org/

 

Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai (state university) https://mkuniversity.ac.in/

 

Periyar University, Salem (state university) https://www.periyaruniversity.ac.in/

 

Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy, Thanjavur (deemed to be university) https://www.sastra.edu/

 

Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India, Agartala (private university) Tripura https://www.icfaiuniversity.in/IUTRIPURA/index.html

 

Tripura University (central university) https://www.tripurauniv.ac.in/

 

Kakatiya University (state university) Telangana https://kakatiya.ac.in/

 

Maulana Azad National Urdu University (central university) https://manuu.edu.in/home-manuu

 

The English and Foreign Languages University (central university) https://www.efluniversity.ac.in/

 

Graphic Era University, Dehradun (deemed to be university) Uttarakhand https://www.geu.ac.in/

 

University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (private university) https://www.upes.ac.in/

 

Aligarh Muslim University (central university) Uttar Pradesh https://www.amu.ac.in/

 

Amity University, Noida (private university) https://www.amity.edu/

 

Integral University (private university) https://www.iul.ac.in/

 

Swami Vivekanand Subharti University (private university) https://www.subharti.org/

 

Dayalbagh Educational Institute (deemed to be university) https://www.dei.ac.in/dei/

 

Shri Venkateshwara University (private university) https://svu.edu.in/

 

University of Burdwan (state university) West Bengal https://www.buruniv.ac.in/

 

Vidyasagar University (state university) http://www.vidyasagar.ac.in/
University of Kalyani (state university) https://www.klyuniv.ac.in/
Rabindra Bharati University (state university) http://www.rbu.ac.in/
University of North Bengal (state university) https://www.nbu.ac.in/

 

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/india

 

Malaysia

Policy

Practice

University

Many public universities also share some course material as OER:

Public Universities Link to OER Link to Inclusive OER (iOER)
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia ocw.utm.my
mooc.utm.my
Universiti Malaysia Pahang ocw.ump.edu.my
Universiti Putra Malaysia http://ocw.upm.edu.my/

 

putramooc.upm.edu.my/mooc/ http://putramooc.upm.edu.my/mooc/course/view.php?id=110
Universiti Malaysia Sabah oer.ums.edu.my
Universiti Malaya https://ocw.um.edu.my/ http://acord.my/
https://www.futurelearn.com/partners/universiti-malaya
https://enea-sea.med.lmu.de/
Universiti Malaysia Perlis http://elearninglab.unimap.edu.my/elearning/
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia https://www.openlearning.com/ https://www.aktivukm.my/ukm-oer https://www.openlearning.com/ https://www.aktivukm.my/ukm-oer https://enea-sea.med.lmu.de/
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu https://epembelajaran.umt.edu.my/laksamana
https://umtmooc.umt.edu.my
Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin https://ocw.unisza.edu.my/
Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia http://mooc.uthm.edu.my/
https://www.openlearning.com/uthmmooc/
Universiti Utara Malaysia https://www.openlearning.com/uummooc/
http://ocw.uum.edu.my/
http://utlc.uum.edu.my/index.php/lo-pensyarah
Universiti Malaysia Kelantan https://www.openlearning.com/umk/
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak http://ocw.unimas.my/
Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia https://elearning.upnm.edu.my/mooc
Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris http://ncdrc.upsi.edu.my/book/
Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka http://ocw.utem.edu.my
Universiti Sains Malaysia http://ocw.usm.my/
Universiti Teknologi MARA Website can be accessed internally only
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia https://www.youtube.com/c/usimofficial/
International Islamic University Malaysia, Centre for Professional Development https://www.iium.edu.my/centre/cpd/

 

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/malaysia

 

Maldives

Policy

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/maldives

 

Pakistan

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/pakistan

 

Singapore

Policy

Currently, Singapore does not have any ODL policies or strategies at the government level. Singapore’s autonomous universities — the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) — have autonomy over their curricula, including ODL offerings.

Practice

University

Private education institutions

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/singapore

 

Sri Lanka

Policy

Practice

University

Other offering distance education

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/sri-lanka

 

Multi-country – Asia

Policy

 

Caribbean & the Americas

Antigua and Barbuda

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/antigua-and-barbuda

 

The Bahamas

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/bahamas

 

Barbados

Policy

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/barbados

 

Belize

Policy

See multi-country initiatives

Practice

Schooling

Post-schooling

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/belize

 

Canada

Practice

Schooling

University

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/canada

 

Dominica

Policy

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/dominica

 

Grenada

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/grenada

 

Guyana

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/guyana

 

Jamaica

Policy

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/jamaica

 

St Kitts and Nevis

Policy

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/st-kitts-and-nevis

 

Saint Lucia

Policy

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/saint-lucia

 

St Vincent and the Grenadines

Policy

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/st-vincent-and-the-grenadines/

 

Trinidad and Tobago

Policy

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/trinidad-and-tobago

 

Multi-country – Caribbean & the Americas

Caribbean Regional Policy Framework for Open and Distance Learning: https://caricom.org/documents/9844-caribbean_regional_policy_framework_for_open_and_distance_learning.pdf

ICT strategy: https://caricom.org/ict-for-development-overview/

Caribbean distance education project: Strategies for Distance Education and Training in the Caribbean: A UNESCO, Blackboard and UWI Initiative

Education Sector Plan: Organization of East Caribbean States: https://www.globalpartnership.org/content/education-sector-plan-oecs (see “Priorities,” p. 23)

University of the West Indies, Open Campus: https://www.open.uwi.edu

 

Europe

Cyprus

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/cyprus

 

Malta

Policy

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/malta

 

United Kingdom

Policy

Practice (open, dual and mixed mode)

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/united-kingdom

 

Pacific

Australia

Policy

Practice

Schooling

University

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/australia

 

Fiji

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/fiji

 

Kiribati

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/kiribati

 

Nauru

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/nauru

 

New Zealand

Policy

Practice

Schooling

Post-schooling

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/new-zealand

 

Papua New Guinea

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/papua-new-guinea

 

Samoa

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/samoa

 

Solomon Islands

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/solomon-islands

 

Tonga

Policy

  • ICT: National ICT Policy
  • The Tonga Digital Government Strategic Framework document shared by the Director for IT at the Ministry for Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications is also available on request from the ministry.

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/tonga

 

Tuvalu

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/tuvalu

 

Vanuatu

Policy

Practice

COL country profile: https://www.col.org/member-countries/vanuatu

 

Multi-country – Pacific

University of the South Pacific: https://www.usp.ac.fj/
Established in 1968, USP is one of only two universities of its type in the world. It is jointly owned by the governments of 12 member countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa. The university has campuses in all member countries. During the pandemic, USP shifted significantly into ODFL provision.

Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth: https://vussc.col.org/

 

 

 

Appendix 1: The evolution of ODL policy and practice in Malaysia

Input from Ministry of Education, Malaysia

Updates on National ODL Policy and Practice in Malaysia

1. ODL policies/strategies

The basic education sector in the past has always focused on classroom delivery, without seriously considering distance learning as a credible mode. With school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers needed to quickly adapt to the new form of teaching and learning, and shift teaching and learning from the public space (school classrooms) to a more personal arena (online platforms).

a. Teaching and Learning at Home Manual (PdPR)

The Ministry of Education (MoE) Malaysia developed the Manual Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran di Rumah (PdPR), or the Teaching and Learning at Home Manual, to provide support for teachers dealing with new forms of instruction. This manual offers guidance to teachers to structurally conduct teaching and learning from home. Besides being a reference to allow continuous learning for students, the guide also helps teachers to create a “parent-friendly” teaching and learning environment so that parents can provide ongoing support for their children’s learning activities.

b. Digital Educational Learning Initiatives Malaysia (DELIMa)

The transition from face-to-face instruction to distance learning in Malaysia is facilitated by Digital Educational Learning Initiatives Malaysia (DELIMa), which has been in place since 2019 to integrate digital tools to support online teaching and learning. This platform offers free educational services and applications in a single place and is available to all schools, teachers and students in Malaysia.

c. Komuniti Guru Digital Learning (KGDL)

Komuniti Guru Digital Learning (KGDL), launched in collaboration with MoE Malaysia’s strategic partners, exists to ensure teachers are given the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills in distance teaching and learning, particularly to help teachers plan, curate and utilise the various online applications suitable for distance learning. To further support teachers, Komuniti Guru Digital Learning has created the Resource Bank KGDL, developed by teachers for teachers as part of MoE Malaysia’s professional learning community.

d. EduwebTV

MoE Malaysia introduced EduwebTV, which hosts on-demand content for students from pre-kindergarten to secondary school. MoE Malaysia also collaborated with broadcasting agencies — Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) and Malaysian satellite TV provider ASTRO — to broadcast educational TV programmes via selected channels, reaching out to as many children as possible in an effort to minimise academic loss as a result of school closures during the pandemic.

e. DidikTV

In addition to the existing EduWebTV, a special terrestrial educational TV channel, DidikTV, was launched on 17 February 2021 to facilitate the home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) processes. From 7 am to 12 midnight daily, DidikTV broadcasts lessons aligned with the national school curriculum.

 

2. OER policies/strategies

In the context of basic education, the DELIMa platform is in many ways aligned with open educational resources policies, in that access to this platform is provided to all schools at no cost and with very few restrictions for teachers and students.

The DELIMa platform offers all the applications and services required by teachers and students within the Malaysian school system, including technologies that enable digital learning, as well as resources such as Google Classroom, Microsoft Office 365 and Apple Teacher Learning Centre.

DELIMa, accessible at moe-dl.edu.my, was envisioned with the following guiding tenets:

  1. platform democratisation — digital learning accessible to all, supporting a multi-technology ecosystem;
  2. lifelong learning — student-centric experiences so learning can take place anytime; and
  3. digital transformation — MoE Malaysia’s commitment to the country’s future needs.

On average, DELIMa is being utilised by 1.7 million users, with Google Classroom being a prominent application of the digital learning platform.

 

 

Appendix 2: The evolution of ODL policy in South Africa

Compiled by Trudi van Wyk

The legislative and policy context in South Africa

Open learning is not a new idea in South Africa. It has its roots in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, and there is a strong thread of references to open learning and related concepts in many Acts of Parliament and policies dating back to 1995.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) derives its ultimate legislative mandate from the Constitution in terms that speak directly to open learning principles:

(1) Everyone has the right

(a) to a basic education, including adult basic education; and

(b) to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.

(2) Everyone has the right to receive education in the official language or languages of their choice in public educational institutions where that education is reasonably practicable. In order to ensure the effective access to, and implementation of, this right, the state must consider all reasonable educational alternatives . . . taking into account

(a) equity;

(b) practicability; and

(c) the need to redress the results of past racially discriminatory laws and practices.

The following are key pieces of legislation regarding education and training:

  • The Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No. 101 of 1997), which regulates higher education, providing inter alia for the establishment of a Council on Higher Education (CHE) and public higher education institutions, the registration of private higher education institutions, and quality assurance and quality promotion in higher education institutions.
  • The Continuing Education and Training Act, 2006 (Act No. 16 of 2006) provides for the governance and funding of TVET and CET colleges, the existence of private colleges, and the establishment and functioning of the South African Institute for Vocational and Continuing Education and Training (SAIVCET),
  • The General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act, 2001 (Act No. 58 of 2001) (GENFETQA Act) provides for the quality assurance of colleges, both public and private.
  • The National Student Financial Aid Scheme Act, 1999 (Act No. 56 of 1999) (NSFAS Act) provides for the management, governance and administration of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which grants loans and bursaries to eligible students at public colleges and public universities, thus opening access to thousands of students who would otherwise be deprived of post-school education and/or training.
  • The National Qualifications Framework Act, 2008 (Act No. 67 of 2008) (NQF Act) provides for the National Qualifications Framework, as well as the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Quality Councils (QCs), the entities on which the regulation of qualifications depend, as well as mechanisms such as the recognition of prior learning (RPL), articulation, and credit accumulation and transfer, all of which contribute to the realisation of more open access to lifelong learning opportunities.
  • So too does the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No. 97 of 1998), which provides for an integrated framework to devise and implement national, sector and workplace strategies to develop and improve the skills of the South African workforce, and to integrate those strategies within the National Qualifications Framework. It also provides for learnerships that lead to recognised occupational qualifications, and the financing of skills development by means of a levy-financing scheme.

In addition, subordinate legislation and a raft of education-related white papers have established a mandate for open learning in South African post-secondary education and training.

Within the context of higher education and training, the following subordinate pieces of legislation have been developed and published since 2009:

  • Under the 1997 Higher Education Act, the Policy for the Provisioning of Distance Education in South Africa Universities in the Context of an Integrated Post-School System (GN 589) was gazetted on 7 July 2014, as was the Policy on Professional Qualifications for Lecturers in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (GN 410) on 11 June 2013. Programmes leading towards some of the latter qualifications have been selected to be among the first piloted on the new National Open Learning System.
  • Under the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No. 97 of 1998), the establishment of Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) (GN R1055 in GG 33756 of 11 November 2010), and of the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) (GN 247 in GG 33059 of 1 April 2010).
  • The White Paper on Education and Training (1995) called for the adoption of open learning principles, and the establishment of a National Open Learning Agency (NOLA) that would “conduct an analysis of the capacity of existing institutions which might form part of the national open learning system.” This white paper affirmed the government’s commitment to opening up learning and removing barriers to education for those who have been disadvantaged by South Africa’s past.

Subsequent policy and planning initiatives have built on this theme:

  • The DHET’s Strategic Plan supported and is still supporting the development of open learning opportunities as part of the post-school system, with the intention of connecting education institutions and curricula to emerging networks and information resources, and of promoting innovation and opportunities for lifelong learning.
  • White Paper 4: A Programme for the Transformation of Further Education and Training (1998) committed the ministry to the development and expansion of high-quality, flexible, innovative further education and training (now TVET) institutions, based on the principles of open learning and responsiveness to the needs and demands of all learners aged 15 or over. Open learning approaches and a system increasingly orientated towards lifelong learning and responsiveness to the needs of learners and communities would widen participation, promote equity and social mobility, and improve the quality of life of South Africans.

This white paper envisaged:

[an] open learning philosophy and programme-based approach to provision [to] encourage institutional diversity, the use of multiple sites of learning and the growth of “virtual” institutions. Learning will take place in the workplace, at community facilities and in learners’ private homes. Some learners will use the Internet and other technologies to access learning via a “web” or network of providers who might be located very far apart and who need have no formal, centralised organisation or structure. Open learning systems and an integrated approach to education and training will thus allow people to learn what they want, when they want and in the form they want, to satisfy their cultural, spiritual, career, personal development and other needs.

  • White Paper 3 on the Transformation of the Higher Education System (2007) promoted the development of a flexible learning system, including distance education and resource-based learning, built on open learning principles. It also mandated expanding the range of programmes to be offered and increasing student enrolments based on open learning and distance education, especially for young and older adults, with particular emphasis on women. Furthermore, this white paper required the then Department of Education to support the development of a national network of centres of innovation in course design and development, as this would enable the creation and franchising of well-designed, quality and cost-effective learning resources and courses, building on the expertise and experience of top-quality scholars and lecturers in different parts of the country.
  • The White Paper on e-Education (2007), which addressed eLearning for the school and post-school sectors, saw ICT and eLearning as critically important tools in the struggle against poverty, underdevelopment and marginalisation, and drew attention to the “digital divide” between those with access to ICT and those with little or no access. Developments in ICT would create access to learning opportunities, remove barriers to learning, redress inequalities, improve the quality of learning and teaching, and deliver lifelong learning — all principles of open learning. In addition, this white paper saw e-Education as more than developing computer literacy and the skills needed to operate various types of ICT; it needed to support larger systematic, pedagogical, curricular and assessment reforms that would facilitate improved education and advance higher-order thinking skills. eLearning would not replace teachers but rather would enhance the quality and reach of their teaching if it was thoughtfully selected and integrated into educational planning and management.
  • In 2013, the Open Learning in Post School Education and Training Concept Note, prepared by DHET, recognised that open learning should be embedded in, enhance and expand the current education and training system. It focused on the conceptualisation of open learning (OL) and the development of an OL system for post-secondary education and training, as well as presenting the first OL implementation strategy. Later in 2013, the Concept Framework for an Open Learning System in Post-School Education and Training in South Africa, prepared for DHET by the Commonwealth of Learning, further unpacked the concept of OL for the South African context, explored models and examples of OL provision, and described the characteristics of an OL system. The framework also outlined the policy and other implications of creating an enabling environment for OL and crystallised a number of initiatives to be undertaken as a means for piloting prototypes in the process of establishing a workable OL management system on which certain programmes and courses would have a presence.
  • In a chapter of the 2014 White Paper for Post-School Education and Training entitled “Open Learning through Diverse Modes of Provision,” DHET commits itself to broadening models of educational provision so that people have easier access to meaningful opportunities throughout their lives. It emphasises the importance of creating networks of providers and learning centres to open up educational opportunities, as well as the necessity for creating an enabling ICT infrastructure.
  • DHET’s 2014 Policy for the Provision of Distance Education in South African Universities in the Context of an Integrated Post-School System, though its focus is narrower than open learning for PSET, highlights open access to post-schooling education opportunities for those who cannot attend traditional campus-based provision, the need for quality assurance to ensure that distance education provision offers a reasonable chance of success, and the potential of distance education to lower costs per student by amortising curriculum design, materials development and some teaching costs across larger numbers of students and by obviating the need for continuing investment in physical infrastructure. Among its key provisions are promoting the development and use of open educational resources and creating an enabling environment for the appropriate integration of information and communication technology to enhance education provision in universities and other post-schooling institutions. This policy also includes an undertaking to work towards ensuring that every post-schooling student will have reasonable access to affordable connectivity.
  • In the wider national policy context, the Council on Higher Education (CHE) published in 2014 the Distance Higher Education Programmes in a Digital Era: Programme Accreditation Criteria and Good Practice Guide, which makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the implications of using ICT in support of both distance and classroom-based education, and provides clear and detailed guidance in the carefully thought-out choices that course and materials designers must make when employing ICT in support of learning.
  • Furthermore, the 2016 Implementation Strategy for Open Learning in the Post-School Education and Training System sets out in some detail the ten strategic outcomes incorporated in the implementation section of the 2014 policy.
  • A Draft Policy Framework for the Provision of Open Learning and Distance Education in South African Post-School Education and Training was developed in 2016 and is in the process of being finalised.
  • In 2019, DHET initiated the development of a Competency Framework for Lecturer Training and Professional Development in ICT, and the draft will be finalised in 2021.
  • In March 2021, the minister approved the Strategy for Expanding Online Learning in Post-School Education and Training: Towards a National Educational Network for Post-School Education and Training.

 

Appendix 3: Selected COL policy resources

ODL

Corporate Policy: eLearning

Developing a National ODL Policy: An International Perspective

Gender Guidelines for the Sri Lanka Open School System

OER

Collaborative Approach to OER Policy and Guidelines Development in the Commonwealth: The Case of Botswana, Cameroon and Sri Lanka

Corporate Policy: Open Educational Resources

Guidelines on the Development of Open Educational Resources Policies

Institutional OER Policy – Template

OER Policy – Provincial Ministries of Education Sri Lanka

Open Educational Resources: Policy, Costs and Transformation

Towards an Open Educational Resources Strategy for the Republic of Zambia

 

Policy issues

A Critical Look at Policy Environment for Opening up Public Higher Education in Rwanda

A Guide to Virtual Universities for Policy-Makers

A Policy Brief on MOOCs

Addressing the Learning Needs of Out-of-School Children and Youths through the Expansion of Open Schooling

Analysing Education Policies for the Future: Realising the Vision of Open Distance Learning in 2030

Doctoral Study and Research Degrees: Online and Distance Programmes

Engineering Education: Online and Distance Programmes

From Policy to Practice: Lessons from the Commonwealth

Future Proofing Higher Education in the Pacific with Open and Flexible Learning

Guidelines on Distance Education during COVID-19

Implementing a Blended/Online Learning Policy on a Face-to-Face Campus: Perspectives of Administrators and Implications for Change

Introduction: Policies and Practice (Editorial)

Key Issues in Technology-Enabled Learning: Policy Considerations

Mobile Learning Research: The Focus for Policy-Makers

Policy Brief: Creating New Opportunities for Women and Girls: Enhancing Women’s and Girls’ Success in Technical and Vocational Education

Policy Interventions and Alternative Learning Pathways: Foundation Level Workplace Training Programmes

Quality and Equity in Digital Learning: Policy Brief

Technology-Enabled Learning: Policy, Pedagogy and Practice

The Two Solitudes of Education Policy and the Challenge of Development

Available at: http://hdl.handle.net/11599/3887

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