Open Distance Learning (ODL) is expanding faster in the developing world, and especially in the South Asian Region. The Governments in these countries have laid significant thrust on ODL, linking this to national development priorities. Within ODL, Open Basic Education assumes considerable significance in the context of :
- millions of students being outside the purview of schooling;
- high dropout rate especially at the primary and elementary levels; and
- linkage of basic education to functionality and skill development.
In the region, Bangladesh had also taken steps to establish the Bangladesh Open University (BOU)with an Open School (OS) within the BOU with support provided by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and expertise provided by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
Commonwealth of Learning (COL)is involved in promoting ODL systems in the Commonwealth through capacity building, networking etc. COL and IGNOU have been working closely for the last two decades in spreading the ODL systems in various sectors in many commonwealth nations. In continuation to this, and as a felt institutional need, the Open School in Bangladesh needs to be strengthened further in terms of continuing professional development of its faculty and staff on especially the design and development of self-learning materials (SLMs so that the quality of learning inputs is considerably enhanced. IGNOU, as the system leader in the region, with a cumulative enrolment of 1.5 million students and presence in 36 countries, could be entrusted the responsibility of organising a series of workshops on Self Learning Materials Development (SLDM), Assessment and Evaluation, Tutoring and Counselling, Multimedia and Online Learning, Research Training, among others. As a priority, the series for SLMD may be taken up at the first instance. The workshop series for a batch of 25 faculty’s and staff is proposed to be undertaken with a mix of online support, face-to-face workshop, online follow-up support, and repeat of the cycle in the next phase(s).