The problem with access is caused by the concentration of education institutions in population centers, namely the bigger towns and cities. Students from outlying areas will have to travel a long way to an educational institution and then to pay for board and lodging away from home. The alternative is establishing new education institutions in the outlying areas. However, this is not normally financially viable. After all, such population is normally distributed across the region, so that even if a choice is made to establish an educational institution in an outlying area, many students will still need to travel from their respective hometowns to it. The exodus of people from the country to the city in general is clearly an indication of the financial plight of those country people. The reduced travel by students if a new educational institution is to be set up in one of those outlying areas, is certainly a help but given the financial situation of those people, even such travel is prohibitive for them.
Distance Education has been identified as a possible alternative solution to the problem of access. However, such a solution will need substantial resources of every kind. In addition it is predicated on reasonably high literacy and discipline on the part of the participants. Idrus (2002a) discussed the dilemmas of distance education in developing countries that had made distance education not a viable solution in Indonesia for now.
The situation elsewhere in the world is no better. It is estimated that 50 million children in the Sub-Saharan Africa are not in school (Dodds, 2002) and that 200 million adults are illiterate. Access is the developing world’s most troublesome educational challenge.
With regards equity, we know that every citizen has the basic rights to be educated. Granted that many governments, particularly in developing countries, are seriously deficient in providing their citizens with many basic rights, but the iniquitous provision of
N IDRUS TRANSFORMING QUALITY FOR DEVELOPMENT KEYNOTE PAPER 7QHES, 29-31 OCTOBER 2002, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA