Advancement and Empowerment of Women through Open Distance Education
Indian National Policy on Education (1986) viewed education as a powerful instrument for promoting equality of status and opportunity between men and women and between groups divided by class, caste and forms of historic oppression. The Policy further stated that women, who mostly remained outside the formal system of education for a variety of reasons, should be benefitted from the open distance education, which is home based and learner centered form of education and also which is free from the constraints of time, place and pace. // We interviewed 100 women learners successfully graduated from Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University in India and another 100 women learners successfully graduated from Indira Gandhi National Open University at the time of their recently convocation. We used the partly structured and partly open questionnaire. On the impact of open distance education on their lives, the women graduates expressed the following, besides other things: a) It gave more confidence to them b) It improved their career opportunities c) It updated their skills d) It provided second chance to dropouts e) It developed new knowledge to them f) It provided them better decision making capacity g) It enhanced their social esteem in the community // We sought from women graduates suggestions to increased participation of women in open distance education for their empowerment. Important suggestions offered by women graduates included the followings: a) Awareness programmes regarding open distance education courses for women in urban, rural and tribal areas will provide opportunity for women to gain knowledge about existing educational facilities. b) The courses in open distance education should be application oriented so that it will help them in their economic and social empowerment c) The course material should be simple, preferably in regional languages to make women more comfortable to use d) Women should be motivated to use technology for faster and easier learning e) Separate study centers for women learners should be set up on the areas where concentration of women learners is more f) A recognition is also required for open distance education degrees among educational institutions, employers and in society. // Paper ID: 137
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