Distance Education

Bangladeshi Platforms for Online and Distance Learning

Distance learning
Written by Roy

Online and Distance learning is popular worldwide. This genre of learning has also been introduced in Bangladesh. Because of the easy access to the internet and digital technology in Bangladesh, some of the courses have become highly popular. Here, we will present the descriptions of the courses and some critical comments on this phenomenon.   

Bangladesh Open University

BOUis the pioneering name in Bangladesh in Distance education. This university was established in 1992 to promote distance education. Previously, the university used only national television, radio and its regional centers to conduct the classes. Now, the university also uses updated digital technologies and online resources.


BOU does not conduct any examination for non-formal programs. Non-formal programs are mainly intended towards mass people to inform them about modern and sustainable techniques in agriculture, poultry farming, health and nutrition, environment protection, etc.


BOU offers formal and non-formal programs. BOU has already launched 43 formal and 19 Non -formal programs. Formal programs are of four types: certificate, diploma, degree, and masters. Students can collect materials from regional centers. Besides, BOU provides different study materials online and conducts programs in radio and television. For formal academic programs, BOU conducts examination every six months for each semester. On the other hand, BOU does not conduct any examination for non-formal programs. Non-formal programs are mainly intended towards mass people to inform them about modern and sustainable techniques in agriculture, poultry farming, health and nutrition, environment protection, etc. (Bangladesh Open University, n.d.)

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, Bangladesh

BDU is the first-ever complete digital public university in Bangladesh. The university has been established to promote online, distance and virtual learning in Bangladesh. In 2019, for the first time, this university has offered two 4-year bachelor courses: BSc in ICT in Education and BSc in the Internet of Things. Only students having a science background can apply for the programs. (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, Bangladesh, n.d.)


The university also has a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses Platform). Through this platform, the university will offer several online courses towards a large number of learners. For the time being, the university is offering only one online course titled “Digital Learning Design”.


The university also has a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses Platform). Through this platform, the university will offer several online courses towards a large number of learners. For the time being, the university is offering only one online course titled “Digital Learning Design”. The course costs only Taka 200 for the materials and certificate. (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, Bangladesh, n.d.)

Muktopaath

Muktopaath is a government project under the a2i (access to information). Under this platform, individuals and organizations can offer courses. Currently, there are 75 ongoing courses. Among them, some of them are free, and some are paid. Students can earn a certificate for some of the courses. Courses include learning strategy, teaching, governance, housekeeping, ICT, agriculture, language, journalism, and so on. (Muktopaath, n.d.)

Possibly the most popular courses under Muktopaath is offered by the Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB). It offers some core courses on journalism online. Previously, all the courses were free, including certificate, but now the institute charges Taka 500 for each course. Duration of the courses is three months. Graduates receive verified certificate from PIB. Generally, professional and potential journalists enrol in the courses. The four courses are:

  1. Online Certificate course on Basic Journalism.
  2. Online Certificate course on Investigative Journalism.
  3. Online Certificate course on Development Journalism.
  4. Online Certificate course on Television Journalism. (Muktopaath, n.d.)

10 Minute School

10 Minute School is the largest Bangladeshi platform for online and distance learning. This online school was established by a Bangladeshi student- Ayman Sadiq- in 2015. This platform offers both academic and professional courses. Because of its innovativeness in content-making, this platform has got wide popularity and archived several national and international recognition. 10 Minute School is supported by Robi Axiata Limited and Ministry of Education of Bangladesh. Though the courses are free, there is no certificate given upon completion of the courses. (10 Minute School, n.d.)

Virtual Skills Development System (VSDS)

VSDS is an online platform by National Skills Development Authority (NSDA). NSDA is a government body for creating a skilled workforce both for the national and international market (National Skills Development Authority, n.d.).  Currently, there is a total of 10 courses on ICT, tourism, electrical and construction. These courses are free, and no certificate is provided upon completion (Virtual Skills Development System, n.d.).

Shikkhok.com

Shikkhok.com is a free and open learning platform established in 2012 by a Bangladeshi computer scientist and academician Dr Ragib Hasan. In this platform, individuals can be a student or a teacher. All the courses are free of cost. No certificate is provided for the courses. Topics of the courses include ICT, technology, and a number of academic and non-academic subjects. (Shikkhok.com, n.d.)

Shikkhok Batayan  

Shikkhok Batayan is a government-supervised common platform for all the teachers of Bangladesh. Here, teachers make digital contents for their lessons and share these with other teachers. They also write blog articles on various issues related to education and teaching. (Shikkhok Batayan, n.d.)

Kishor Batayan

Kishor Batayan is also a government project under a2i. This is a platform for the youths of the country where they will learn, share and collaborate. This platform will also help them to gather innovative ideas. (Kishor Batayan, n.d.)


There is a lack of quality and management in the courses. Authorities should keep the standard of education up to the mark so that students can make the best use of their money and time. New and modern courses should be introduced in the platforms.


Conclusion

Most of the platforms we have discussed so far offer courses in Bengali. This is a good reason for gaining wide popularity. However, the number of online platforms is not enough yet to meet the demand of the population. In addition, there is a lack of quality and management in the courses. Authorities should keep the standard of education up to the mark so that students can make the best use of their money and time. New and modern courses should be introduced in the platforms.  Finally, support and recognition from authorities like UGC and the Ministry of Education are highly needed to promote online and distance learning in Bangladesh.

References

  • 10 Minute School. (n.d.). 10 Minute School [MOOC platform]. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from 10 Minute School website: http://10minuteschool.com/
  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, Bangladesh. (n.d.-a). BDU MOOC [MOOC platform]. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from BDU MOOC website: http://mooc.bdu.ac.bd/
  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, Bangladesh. (n.d.-b). Circular [University]. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University, Bangladesh website: http://admission.bdu.ac.bd/circular
  • Bangladesh Open University. (n.d.). Programs and Students [University]. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from Bangladesh Open University website: https://www.bou.edu.bd/index.php/programs-students
  • Kishor Batayan. (n.d.). Kishor Batayan [Forum]. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from Kishor Batayan website: http://konnect.edu.bd/
  • Muktopaath. (n.d.-a). Muktopaath [MOOC platform]. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from Muktopaath website: http://www.muktopaath.gov.bd/
  • Muktopaath. (n.d.-b). অনলাইনে সাংবাদিকতা শিক্ষা [MOOC platform]. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from Muktopaath website: http://pib.muktopaath.gov.bd/
  • National Skills Development Authority. (n.d.). National Skills Development Authority [MOOC platform]. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from National Skills Development Authority website: http://www.nsdc.gov.bd/en/home/
  • Shikkhok Batayan. (n.d.). Shikkhok Batayan [Forum]. Retrieved April 7, 2019, from Shikkhok Batayan website: https://www.teachers.gov.bd/
  • Shikkhok.com. (n.d.). আমাদের কথা [MOOC platform]. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from শিক্ষকঃ বাংলায় অনলাইনে মুক্ত জ্ঞানের মেলা website: http://shikkhok.com/
  • Virtual Skills Development System. (n.d.). Virtual Skills Development System [MOOC platform]. Retrieved April 17, 2019, from Virtual Skills Development System website: http://nsdc.gov.bd/virtualpathshala/#

Md. Didarul Islam: BA ESOL (4th Year), Department of English Language, Institute of Modern Languages, University of Dhaka

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5 Comments

  • Very informative article. Thanks. Online education is cost effective, undoubtedly. Shikkha Bataoin is playing tremendous role at root level teachers. Many teachers are working without training. They need to be trained. Online training can be introduced extensively. It would be cost effective and could cover huge teachers. I know a school. They are doing good. Teachers prefer government initiative for online courses. http://www.ughsc1986.edu.bd/

  • Thanks for important information,
    another news
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