The Quest for Quality Assurance in Open and Distance Learning Practice in Tanzania
Open and Distance Learning rather than conventional learning, commands a higher potential in engendering a knowledgeable society and related socio–economic transformation benefits. Using desktop survey methods, the study has identified ODL providers in the country, assessed the scope of programmes being offered, performance, and the nature of quality assurance mechanisms in place. It was found that in spite of the liberalisation of educational delivery in Tanzania, ODL provision is still carried out mostly by public institutions like Moshi University College of Cooperative and Business Studies (MUCCOBS), Institute of Adult Education (IAE), The Open University of Tanzania (OUT) and the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). The potential of these and other ODL providers in the country to promote mass access to quality education at all levels of the education system has hardly been tapped due to policy and resource limitations. Although each institution has put in place internal quality assurance mechanisms and structures for peer review, mechanism for accreditation by independent and competent ODL organisation is yet to be put in place. Lack of a National ODL Policy or even a pressure group to provide guidance on the procedures for putting in place and managing quality structures effectively, account for this significant lacuna in ODL practice in Tanzania. Besides examining the implication of this situation, the paper proposes measures to redress it.
Keywords: Quality Assurance, Open and Distance Learning (ODL)