Distance education is beneficial to learners, families, employers/workplace, and governments as it provides the most affordable and flexible opportunities. It is more than ever clear that open and distance learning will be an important element of future education systems.
Distance learning is a powerful option for students who wish to study and learn in their own time, pace and place. Many students have schedules that do not fit with the traditional on-campus course offerings and hence distance education is a viable avenue to a quality education. Notably, distance education and its contributions to national development is duly recognized by national, continental and international organizations. For instance, a task force on an African Distance Learning Program (ADLP) convened for the Economic Commission for Africa’s First African Development Forum; a UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), inaugurated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in May 1999, identified distance education as one of its priority areas in the education sector. Cognizant of this, Bahir Dar University has taken the prime lead in implementing distance education thereby significantly ensuring access to education and contributes to national development since 2006.
Historically, Bahir Dar University is a national pioneer that initially recognized the importance and implemented teaching-learning with distance education modality. This has been realized with the extraordinary contributions of the University’s farsighted staff.The University has been a champion in providing citizens with a more affordable, flexible and friendly learning conditions thereby meeting quality, relevance, and access to education throughout the country as stipulated in Sustainable Development Goals-4. This is achieved by setting up an office which is dedicated to coordinating distance and continuing education programs. This office is just a University within a bigger University and has been discharging its social responsibility by training citizens in various fields throughout the nation. In connection with this, the office has been offering scholarships for employees of the University and their family and employees of collaborating institutions every year.