Towards Knowledge Based Economies - the contribution of open distance learning strategies in addressing equity and inclusiveness issues in small states like Mauritius
Equity and inclusion in education are increasingly being acknowledged as critical issues for national development. This is reflected in conventions and commitments taken by various governments and impacts on the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals as well as the UNESCO Education for All Goal.This paper attempts to define equity and inclusion in education and discusses its importance for national development. The purpose of education and inclusion in education systems is to
... the cause of social justice and equity. Achieving equity and inclusion in education is a human rights issue and is a real challenge for many countries. What are the barriers or causes of inequity and exclusion? These are quite complex, the barriers being multidimensional and there is no "one size fits all" solution.Addressing the issue of equity and inclusion in education has political, social, economic, technological and cultural implications. How do we achieve this goal for every child? It is both an opportunity and a duty.One of the proposed strategies in this paper will be to adopt and integrate open and distance learning (ODL) in the mainstream of the education and training system. Some of the challenges facing small states are also highlighted. Properly designed and managed ODL can increase access and contribute towards achieving equity and inclusion in education – when combined with the relevant enabling environment.