domingo, 9 de agosto de 2009

Educação a distância no Quénia

A noticia abaixo foi publicada em 09 de agosto de 2009 no jornal coastweek do Quénia e apresenta os benefícios que de acordo com os dirigentes do país, serão resultantes da utilização da educação a distância.

Kenyans argue over distance
learning, e-learning benefits

Minister for Education Sam Ongeri has moved to dispel
fears that the use of the digital content in the syllabus
would replace teachers


NAIROBI (Xinhua) — As the prospects of an individual attaining formal education in the country has risen to a record high with the introduction of both free primary and secondary education, tertiary education still remains a challenge to many school-leavers in Kenya.

With the establishment of numerous colleges and universities to admit students, and many miss out especially in public universities due to limited vacancies.

But in a bid to curb the rising number of high school leavers missing the opportunity to pursue their dream career, many more trend of offering higher education have become increasingly open to accommodate the increasing demand of students who want to acquire degree courses.

One of these trends is the distance learning education, which has become a more vital part of the higher education family.

It is understood that the public as well as political interest in distance education is on the rise especially in regions where the student population is widely distributed.

In fact, public policy leaders, in some countries, are recommending the use of distance education as opposed to traditional learning.

This is because distance learning has many benefits as compared to the traditional program.

Among such gains are that the distance learning program or e-learning reaches a broader student audience. At the same time, the program addresses the needs of students better than the face-to-face classroom teaching.

And with the cost of tertiary education rising each passing day, with the program one is able to save money in terms of cutting on some expenses such as transportation.

As technology advances, the distance learning mode ensures that the students keep abreast with the latest technology since the program uses the principles of modern learning techniques.

But critics of the program say this mode of teaching can result in lack of interaction between students and their teachers or even among students themselves.

Charles Mitu, who eagerly wants to acquire a degree in Bachelor of Commerce at a public university but missed out on points, told Xinhua that at first he had difficulties in sorting out quality programs from less rigorous ones, but once he got the one he wanted things are now easier.

He said that he would not be able to get a degree without distance education.

However, over the recent past there have been disputes on whether distance education is ideal and whether it is good enough to merit a university degree, and if it is better than receiving no education at all.

This is due to the fact that students learn less especially when the teacher is not personally present bearing in mind that the student has more to learn from the teacher than the text books or reference materials.

But those for the program view traditional classes as being inflexible as the classes and other routines are scheduled and static.

Even though challengers of distance education may agree that it is possible for some learning to occur through this medium, they still argue that it isn’t enough.

Hence they stress the need to focus on the fullness of learning.

"I have two options on whether to go for the traditional degree or the distance one, but opted for the latter since at the time I had also gotten a job and didn’t want to lose it," Enos Wafula, a distant-learning student in Nairobi, told Xinhua.

According to Wafula, the program is convenient since he can adjust his daily schedule.

He said that the traditional degree is so demanding that one is required to be in class full time, implying that scheduling your daily program becomes almost impossible.

But to state how vital e-learning is to education, Kenya’s Ministry of Education has launched digital syllabus for both primary and secondary schools.

Minister for Education Sam Ongeri while unveiling the program, moved to dispel fears that the use of the digital content in the syllabus would replace teachers, a factor that the proponents of traditional education say is critical in the learning process.

Already, the ministry has earmarked 11 Form One subjects to be taught in the e-learning format.

"The availability of ICT and digital content will require even more contribution from teachers, in that learning will be more inquisitive and demanding," said the minister.

The minister noted that the digital content would also reduce disparities in curriculum delivery, adding that it has the potential to revolutionize teaching and learning in the country by enhancing access, quality, relevance and equity.

With few exceptions, researchers say that students using technology in e-learning have similar learning outcomes as those in the traditional classroom and therefore.

Such learners should not be viewed as disadvantaged in their learning experiences since they can perform as well as or better than traditional learners as measured by homework assignments, exams, and term papers.

Conversely, as reported by other researchers, there are no significant differences in grades between on-line students and the traditional students.

As for the learning styles, what may work for one type of learner may not necessarily work for another and so should not be an issue of great concern.

Postado em 09 de agosto de 2009 por Joao Jose Saraiva da Fonseca

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