Authors: Zenebe Baraki
The focus of this study is on the management practices and effectiveness issues of AAU distance education program as it pertains to instructional quality and students support system. A vast literature document that distance education is at present quite popular throughout the world. Learning occurs non-contiguously and the educational process is technologically mediated (Tella, S 1997; Rumble, G. 1992). While the system of education can be used at various levels, it is more appropriate for secondary and post-secondary level education. In Ethiopia, distance education (the former correspondence education) has been applied to the training of teachers as well as other staff of the civil service in vocational and business subjects. In the Ministry of Education‟s 5-year perspective plan (ESDP I) many more teachers that are under-qualified are needed to be upgraded urgently. Accordingly, among others, Addis Ababa University has ventured in the training of such teachers at bachelor degree level. Besides the public teachers colleges in the regions in close support from the Educational Mass Media Agency (EMA), few private distance higher education institutions such as „Alpha‟, St. Mary‟s College‟, „Unity University College‟ and the UK-Open University affiliated with Addis Ababa Commercial College, as well as World Bank with the Ethiopian Civil Service College are higher education systems that have also emerged and contributing to the effort. In order to study the management effectiveness of these DE institutions, a survey questionnaire was distributed to sample learners and interviews were conducted with course instructors, tutors assigned in the centers, management staff of the University and MOE. The analysis based on the data revealed that appropriate organization and management are lacking for effective program operation. The frequent turnover of top management, absence of experienced and skilled staff and shortage of funding for monitoring, tutoring and learning materials development and improvement are critical to strengthen the program. The AAU management and the MOE policy-makers would benefit from the study that suggests points of policy implication.