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Publication date: 3 November 2020

Khalida Nasreen and Muhammad Tanveer Afzal

The purpose of the study is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in higher education regarding distance learning system in Pakistan.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in higher education regarding distance learning system in Pakistan.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed-method research design was used in this study. The population of the study was all the previous students of research work and all the teachers of these students working at MPhil and PhD level in AIOU in Pakistan. Stratified random sampling technique was used in this study. This study used the questionnaire and interview technique to collect data. Data of questionnaire was in numbers and data of interview was narrative. So it was the need of the study that a mixed-method approach, i.e. both quantitative and qualitative techniques should be used in this study.

Findings

The findings of the study show that AIOU has also strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in higher education related to distance education like all the formal and distance universities of Pakistan and World. This study reflected that AIOU is a great blessing for those who cannot acquire their education regularly because of financial/family problems or they are job holders. But this study also described that at higher level students are facing a lot of problems especially there is a delay in research process and provision of no scholarships to students. The teachers have a low salary package than the other public universities of Pakistan and a lot of responsibilities to attend meetings, seminars, conferences and workshops. So they have less time for research work. And AIOU provides them fewer opportunities to go abroad for further studies or to attend conferences/seminars. This study recommended that there should be adopted such policies in AIOU that students could get their study materials, assignments duration, workshops schedule and degrees in time, the teachers of the concerned departments should allow to take more in numbers the students under their supervision, the pay package for the teachers working at MPhil and PhD level should be raised and the opportunities for the faculty members to go.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to analyze the higher education system especially the distance learning system in Pakistan.

Practical implications

This study has indicated the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in higher education which the AIOU is facing recently and the policymakers can develop plans/strategies to make better the distance learning system especially at higher level in Pakistan. This study can be helpful for the stakeholders who are interested in distance learning system. This study was conducted at higher level in the distance learning system but it can open the ways for the other researchers to conduct research in other disciplines related to distance education, i.e. at matric level, F.A/F.SC, B.Sc programs, Master level and M.Sc programs at AIOU.

Social implications

Through this study, it can be acknowledged how the AIOU is providing the opportunity of education to a large number of people in the society who cannot study regularly in the formal institutions especially those who are job holders, some financial problems and women who have some family problems and above one million people are benefitting from AIOU in Pakistan and world.

Originality/value

This study is original in this respect because the data has been collected from the participants, i.e. students and teachers of AIOU. And it has also great value because this is the first SWOT analysis which has been conducted in this university to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing AIOU at present time. This study can also become a base for the stakeholders', i.e. policymakers, administration and higher education depart. of Pakistan in developing strategies to improve and amend the distance learning system of Pakistan especially at higher level in AIOU.

Details

Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1858-3431

Keywords

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