Teacher Education For Distance
Learning Based Special Education In Pakistan


Tanzila NABEEL


ABSTRACT
Special education is a mode of education in which specially designed instruction material and environment is required to meet the diverse requirements of children with special needs. In Pakistan, Open University (AIOU) exclusively initiated a program for teacher preparation for Special Children through distance learning. This was a unique program of its kind with no precedence of defined services for Special Teachers’ Preparation. Dept of Special Education AIOU - through Distance learning system, offers study/training at graduate, masters and Ph. D. levels. Teachers are prepared in 6 specialized areas of Visual Impairment, Physical Disabilities, Hearing Impairment, Intellectual Disability, Learning Disability and Inclusive Education. The Open University has a well established regional network, outreach system providing educational counseling and guiding services to its students. University has 32 regional campuses with 86 part-time regional coordinating officers throughout the country for providing assistance to the Regional campuses. Over 900 study centers are established during the semester and are managed through the university’s regional campuses. Each student is assigned to a tutor who is a subject specialist. To maintain consistency of on and off campus observations, University faculty conducts reliability observations with adjunct Supervisors. Their professional growth impacts the quality of the teaching cadre. It was for the first time in the history of teacher training institutes of Pakistan that a teacher training program at Masters Level in the area of Special Education was offered through distance education. This paper gives the experiences, methodology and successes as outcome of the Distance- learning Special-Educator Program in Pakistan. Also highlighted is the Special Teacher Preparation Model through Distance Education System. Increased program completion rates support the fact that Open University faculty have become better distance educators, that more effective student support systems have been constructed, that distance education delivery methods and technologies have improved and the remote areas in Pakistan have become stronger partners in producing quality teachers.


KEYWORDS: Teacher Education; Distance Learning; Special Education; Persons With Disability; Hearing Impairment; Physical Disabilities; Intellectual Disabilities; Visual Impairment; Learning Disabilities; Inclusive Education

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