Distance Education Opens Access to Educational and Career Advancement: The Case of Community Based Workers’ Certificate Programme at Bocodol
In its common usage in Education, the term access typically refers to the ways in which educational institutions through their policies strive to ensure that different sectors of the population have equal and equitable opportunities to take full advantage of their education. However, there is evidence that there are certain factors such as, race religion, and disability, past academic performance that may contribute to certain groups of people having less access to educational opportunities than others. This paper looks at the role played by Distance Education at the Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning (BOCODOL), which is to continually open up access to some of disadvantaged groups of the Botswana society through its accredited programs. In particular the paper presents a case of the Certificate programme for Community Based Work with Children and Youth (CBWCY). This is a programme that has been designed for people who work with vulnerable children and youth at community level mainly on a voluntary basis and most of them without any formal qualification for the work. While the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) and UNICEF ESARO designed the programme, in Botswana it is offered by BOCODOL through Distance Education and in partnership with the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) in South Africa. Involvement by BOCODOL in this programme was a result of the realisation that the majority of the participants in the programme, despite their hard work and positive contributions to society, did not have formal qualifications on the basis of which they could develop a career in this field. This paper presents this case to share practical experiences and showcase a model that bears testimony to positive contribution by Distance education in Botswana in opening up access to educational opportunities for those who have been disadvantaged by their different life circumstances. // Paper ID 311
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