The Dawn of Online Education in Asia

Online education and distance learning has seen a trending rise in population over the last several years. Today, it is becoming more acceptable than ever as it allows students who don’t have a university nearby to still be able to enroll for classes and do the necessary reading, studying and homework to earn a degree online. The story is no different in other countries, such as the case where a student in the Maldives was an hour plane ride away from the nearest university. That university didn’t even offer the program he was looking to get into. Because the student didn’t want to take off any more time from school, as he had already done so for his bachelor’s and master’s degree, the Ph.D hopeful enrolled in Asia eUniversity, which will allow him to take the online courses he needs to earn a doctoral degree in education without having to take more time off from work, according to an article posted in The New York Times.

While many universities have offered online courses for some time, Asian learning institutions are just now seeking to expand their online programs in an effort to fill the demand for higher education in underserved areas.With Internet capabilities spreading, more students are realizing that they don’t necessarily need to move somewhere should they wish to pursue a college education. Universities around the world have followed suit to offer online degrees in various concentrations and at various levels. Posting classroom material online and requiring students to take part in online discussions forums are just two ways Asian schools have started incorporating elements of distance education into their existing curricula. Online education has long been a part of Asia’s higher education plan, but the number has grown very rapidly over the last few years, with China and India experiencing the most rapid growth.

But some education experts argue that offering online education isn’t always a solution for students who don’t have a college or university in their hometown. There are some issues with online education, particularly in rural areas of Asia, where Internet signals are weak and sometimes nonexistent. In addition, some education experts argue that online universities face challenges such as competing with traditional universities that are more established and building credible reputations, as some schools may have questionable qualifications. While many schools, such as Asia eUniversity and Wawasan Open University, are approved by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency, it could be more difficult to prove the quality of education in countries that lack quality assurance.

Still, online education is a great option for those that have the availability and means to be able to do so and students do not have to worry about getting in as there are no restrictions on enrollment figures. School officials for the Open University in Hong Kong stated that governments were trying to find better ways to assess online programs and trying to face solutions and a way to recognize and respect online learning and expel the problem of "diploma mills," which is something all countries face.

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