An Assessment of the Management of Distance Education for Upper Primary School Teachers in Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


The main purpose of this study was to undertake a systematic assessment of the management of distance education for upper primary school teachers and thereby to single out the strength and weaknesse s of the program and eventually to provide alternative recommendations against the identified problems. To this end, answers to the basic questions pertaining to the manner of course development, production and distribution; the nature of the management of the tutors; the characteristics of the student support service; the manner of budget preparation; and the most important constraints that affected the program were so ug ht for. The research methodolog y employed in this study was descriptive survey. Accordingly, survey questionnaires and interview question items were prepared and pilot tested and administered to a sample of 378 subjects composed of 240 tutees, 104 tutors, 13 tutorial centre coordinators, IS univers ity personnel. 5 heads of the distance education departments of the regional education bureaus and the head of the distance education deportment of educational media agency. In aggregate, 99.9 per cent of the questionnaires were properly filled in and returned, and data analysis mode using both descriptive and inferen tia l statistics such as percentages, weighted means, chisquare tests, t-tests, and Spearman's rank order correlation coefficient test. The findings of the study showed that except for the development of quality course curriculum. the program was characterized by a multitude of problems. Chief among them were delay in the deve lo pment, production, and distribution of course materials; different sorts of tutor-related, tutee-related and credit-related problems associated to assignments for exchange; sch edule-related, content-related, and discipline-related problems pertinent to exams; lock of full-fledged counseling service to the learners; absence or incompleteness of resource rooms; irregularity of tutorial sessions; and lock of continued training, supervision, and reinfo rc ement scheme in relation to the tutors . Recommendations were also forwarded in the interest of addressing these issues. Included were: policy issue s that concentrate on the institutionaliza tion (in higher education institutions) of administrativ e structure for distance education, the establishment of a unit that would toke care of the production and distribution of the course modules, the provision of efficient, comprehensive and multidimensional student support services, and the proper management of faculty as well as tutors.