Friday, 3 January 2014

Distance Learning: Bringing Illumination Closer To Caribbean Learners

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Acquaintance with the mobile devices is increasing in different parts around the world. More and more people have found it viable to rely on his or her smart phone, tablet, or laptop to make friends, to buy a present or to earn a degree. The technological development over the last few years and the advent of internet connection in every nook and corner of the globe helping millions to enjoy quality services, cutting-edge products, amenities of the modern society, and world class education everywhere.

A Hope for Rural and Remote Communities

The new age learning system that flourished with technology and internet made education available for all. People deprived of education for poor financial condition, lack of academic resources, physical impediments or social turbulence, now have scope to learn from the prestigious universities wherever they want at an affordable price. Developing countries are making most of distance learning to bring about significant changes in socio-economic sphere!

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The arrival of this phenomenal learning system is a blissful event for the learners from developing countries. The stringency of conventional learning system that kept education restricted only to a lucky few disappeared as distance education through online arrived. World’s most prestigious learning institutes have come forward to bring enlightenment closer to the most deprived. The entire globe is joining the revolution of distance learning to form a liberal education system for all.

A remarkable initiative…

A recent announcement by the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), confirmed of late that Canada will be assisting the young learners in the Caribbean to achieve greater access to higher education. Minister Ablonczy made the announcement in Antigua on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, as part of her seven-day, seven-country tour of the Eastern Caribbean. Canada is one of those countries, who help the Caribbean countries generate a more sustainable economic growth and enhance opportunities for the Caribbean learners by helping them acquire better knowledge and skills. "Helping the region's young people develop the high-level skills needed to contribute to the work force is a key step toward reaching those goals", said Minister Ablonczy.

The University of West Indies Open Campus, serving 16 Caribbean countries and territories at present is the main implementing partner of the project. The aim of the project is to help increase access to post-secondary qualification for learners residing in remote areas and under-served communities at up to 42 distance education sites across the Caribbean region. Distance learning courses in the Caribbean is hoping to enhance employment opportunities and generate economic prosperity through opening fresh avenues for the new age learners. According to Minister Fantino, the recent attempt is made to support economic growth and boost employment by developing human capital. He said, "By integrating higher education into the Caribbean, Canada is enhancing the ability of Caribbean countries to address the economic and labour market challenges they face, ultimately helping to lift millions of people out of poverty."

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“The Caribbean, because of its geography and isolation of island states, is in need of technology that would allow young people in distant and remote areas to get a post-secondary education without necessarily having to move to Barbados, Trinidad or Jamaica where the three main campuses of the UWI system are,” said former University of Alberta professor, Dr. Andy Knight, who is the director of the UWI Institute of International Relations at the St. Augustine campus. Progress in communication and information technologies have helped to extend a learner’s access to post-secondary or higher education, reducing costs in academic resources, and reach learners from distant and deprived communities. That’s the reason why the changing learning system is the most important evolution of the recent age.