Experiences and Tensions Of Tuturing At Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Pakistan

Shahinshah BABAR KHAN

Pakistan is a country with thick population of 160 million. Its geographical area is 796,096-sq. Km. Its 69% of population lives in rural areas and rest in urban. Since the education of rural people is a difficult task for the government therefore, there emerged a need of open and distance in Pakistan. Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is the first Open University in Asia. It was established in 1974 and now has earned the status of Mega University. AIOU is a Distance Education institution, which provides multi disciplinary education from basic to doctoral level programs. The university employs non-formal method of correspondence, radio and television broadcasts, special textbooks and reading materials prepared on self-learning basis, part-time teachers (tutors) engaged nearest to the student's residences. The university has more than 36 regional campuses and centers in various parts of the country to coordinate and facilitate decentralized system of education of the university. The regional directors keep a roster of qualified teachers and experts in each field of study in their area and enlist them as the university’s part-time tutors.The number of registered tutors with AIOU is more than 30,000. Each group of students is entrusted to a tutor for guidance. Assignments written by the students are evaluated by the tutors and returned to them, with comments. The regional campuses also arrange practical training, teaching practice, workshops and seminars and facilitate holding of examinations in their own areas. This study presents data from a study of experiences of distance education tutors at Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Pakistan, in the use of face-to-face tuition to support their students undertaking teacher training programmes at a distance. It explores the tensions for ‘face-to-face’ teachers involved in ‘distance teaching’ courses, and discusses these in terms of the tutors’ perceptions of the ways in which face-to-face tutorials are used to manage these tensions.

KEYWORDS: Higher Education, Distance Education, Teacher Training, Distance Education Institution