THE EFFICACY OF OPEN AND DISTANCE LEARNING IN THE EDUCATION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN ZIMBABWE.
Introduction and background
The postal system was the best technology that was used by the pioneers of distance education in the mid 19th century, (www.cdlonline.org/index,cfm?). Distance education opened educational opportunities to people who wanted to learn but were not able to attend conventional school. People who most benefited from such correspondence included those with physical disabilities. In this vein, Moore and Tait (2002) remarked that ODL is one of the most rapidly growing fields of education and its potential impact has been greatly accentuated through the development of ...view middle of the document...
Apart from acquiring disabilities through war or accidents there are any adults, children and youth with congenital disabilities who need educational intervention. According to Ingstad and Whyte (1995) disability in Africa is often explained in terms of superstition if a child is born with a disability bewitched or that the mother of that child is a witch who is being punished for wrong dings. Such beliefs are not progressive on the part of parents who might deem it pointless to educate a child with disabilities.
In this context people with disabilities are those with activity limitations or participation restrictions which make it difficult to execute a task or an action. Thus disability reflects the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives. Thus there is need for intervention to remove environmental social and educational barriers for people with disabilities to access education. It is against this background that this paper seeks to discuss the efficacy of ODL in the education of people with disabilities.
People with disabilities
A disability is a result from a loss of physical functioning ranging from los of sight, hearing and mobility or a result from difficult in the learning and social adjustment that significantly interferes with disabilities growth and development. Thus people with disabilities have activity limitations and participation restrictions.
Efficacy is the capacity to produce an effect. It is power or capacity to produce an intended or desired effect or result. The other words that can well explain efficacy are; efficiency, power, value, strength, vigour, virtue, fruitfulness and productiveness.
This refers to the provision of flexible educational opportunities in terms of access and multiple modes of knowledge acquisition. Flexible means the availability of choices for educational endeavours anywhere, anytime and anyhow. Access means opportunity made available to all, freeing them from constraints of time and place. Multiple modes mean the use of various delivery systems and learning resources.
What is open and Distance learning (ODL)
Many people have heard about home based education but never bothered to find it the main ideas behind such concepts. However, it is of utmost important to find out how open and distance learning system can benefit people with disabilities access learning. Open and distance learning refers to approaches to learning that focus on freeing learners from constraints of time and place while offering flexible learning opportunities., (UNESCO, 2013). For many students especially in the Zimbabwe Open University where this presenter works, Open and Distance Learning is a way of combining work and family responsibilities with educational opportunities.
Te distance education which can also be referred to as distributed learning or distance learning is any educational process in which all o...