Current Status and Prospects for E-learning in the Promotion of Distance Education in Bangladesh

Md. Tofazzal ISLAM
Abu Sadeque Md. SELIM

The issue of e-learning as an advanced system for training and educating mass people using information and communication technologies (ICTs) has been received an increasing level of interest in recent years in most of the western countries. In spite of socio-economic constraints, ICTs are rapidly expanding in the developing countries, and thus offering a new scope for the use of e-learning for the promotion of distance education. In Bangladesh, e-learning was first introduced as early as 1960s as a Radiobroadcast followed by a pilot project School Broadcasting Program (SBP) in 1980s and then expanded by the establishment of the National Institute of Educational Media and Technology (NIEMT), which was later transformed into Bangladesh Institute of Distance Education (BIDE) in 1985. The significant progress has been done after the establishment of the Bangladesh Open University (BOU) in 1992 as the first and only national distance learning university. Within a decade of its establishment, enrollment of BOU students have reached nearly 400 thousands, and thus enlisted it as one of the mega-universities. BOU has been offering a variety of formal and non-formal academic programs from certificate to Masters levels using print, TV and radio broadcasts, audio-cassettes and face to face tutorials as the media of delivering its academic courses. Considering the rapid expansion of computer and internet in Bangladesh after 1998s, it is now appropriate time to consider inclusion of some interactive ICTs i.e. e-learning in delivering course materials of BOU or other institutes to promote distance education in Bangladesh. In this paper, we discuss the current situation and future prospects for e-learning in Bangladesh considering the current trend of ICTs expansion in the country.

KEYWORDS: E-learning, Bangladesh Open University, Distance Education, ICT, Mega-University