Higher Education: A Privilege or a Right? It is Time for ODL Institutions to Shine
8 Pages Posted: 11 May 2018
Date Written: June 3, 2017
Globalisation and massification of higher education has given rise to a number of social and political discourses around the world. Countries are no longer independent of what is happening around them and around the world. Especially third world countries which have to maintain certain standards if they to compete in the open world markets. This places enormous responsibility on governments to ensure the citizens receive quality education and are on the same par, if not higher, as their counterparts in other parts of the world. The citizens on the other hand not only demand such education but they also demand such education to be free. While the right to basic education (up to Grade 12) has been accepted as a right by many countries including the United Nations, higher education though is going through a grey area. Literature shows that it is almost a 50-50 situation. From a student’s perspective it is a right. But human rights should be accompanied by responsibilities. From a pragmatic and institution’s perspective it is a privilege not because of discrimination (elite versus poor), but due to its sustainability which depends on academic success of students which is related to status and financial constraints. It will be argued that in the ideal situation where one gets 100% graduation rate then in the end the graduated student will be financing a new undergraduate which is a self-financing system. Anything less that 100% graduation rate leads to wastage of resources. It is this indisputable wastage that on the one hand governments and institutions have not been successful in addressing on the other hand misinformed students may make unrealistic demands. An Open Distance Learning (ODL) institution could take advantage of this, by using its advantages and providing quality education of acceptable standards to its self as well as to a F2F institution. It can become the bridge for the student to cross over to F2F institution, if he/she wishes to do so, or retain the student and graduate at that institution.
Keywords: privilege, right, open distance learning, ODL
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