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The Prospects and Challenges of Open Learning and Distance Education in Malawi

Authors: Andrew Chimpololo


Open and distance learning is a fairly new concept in Malawi. The major public provider, the Malawi College of Distance Education, rolled out its activities only about 40 years ago. Over the years, the demand for distance education has tremendously increased. The present government has displayed positive political will to uplift ODL as outlined in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy as well as the National Education Sector Plan. A growing national interest in education coupled with political stability and a booming ICT industry also raise hope for success. However, a fragile economy with a GNI per capita of -US$ 200 over the last decade, poor public funding, erratic power supply and lack of expertise put strain on efforts towards the promotion of ODL initiatives. Despite the challenges, the nation appears determined to go flat out and explore all possible avenues that could revolutionise education access and equity through ODL.

Keywords: challenges, distance education, Malawi, openlearning, prospects.

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