A method of learning that uses technology as its backbone, distance learning helps enrich lives and the reach of educational institutions. In developing nations, such as Belize, that find difficulty in reaching all of its students due to rough terrain, distance learning is a potential solution to allow students to learn virtually rather than directly in a classroom setting.
The distance learning model has been used in the past in countries like China, India, and Egypt, Mexico, and Nigeria and has been proven to work in bringing educational access to places where there would otherwise be no access (UNESCO).
Distance learning is aimed at helping bring universal education to all in a world where the need for education is becoming more and more demanding. However, there are many challenges that Belize is facing. First, there is a discrepancy between the supply and demand for skilled workers, with the demand being much higher than the supply. Second, the nation is struggling with poverty and lack of sufficient tertiary educational institutions. Lastly, many Belizeans cannot afford secondary and tertiary school costs, and end up dropping out of school after primary education.
There are several challenges in developing distance learning in Belize. The paper discusses a distance learning experiment between Belize and America (specifically East Austin), and the challenges, failures, and lessons that were collected from the experiment. Due to sheer distance, cost, and difficulty in communication (whether that be technological or cultural), distance learning is much harder to implement than was initially expected.
Report: Distance Learning and Belize – Opportunities and Challenges