Empowerment of women through distance education: A case study of center for distance education, Maulana Azad national Urdu university, Hyderabad
Dr. SR Subhani
Development is a process of structural change in the economic, political, social and cultural domains. It starts with people, their education and their capabilities because people are the primary and ultimate focus of all development. The broader goal of development is to bring the entire population into the mainstream of the national development process, both as contributors and beneficiaries. Development is the development of an individual, each according to his or her potential and in this sense education is a crucial aspect of development. Women constitute about fifty percent of the total population, but they form only nine percent of the total productive work force. The main reason for this poor share is low literacy level among women. When this major chunk is educated, they can contribute significantly for the development of the country and can there by empower themselves to participate in all development activities. In this aspect distance education has emerged as a boon to women of all ages to equip themselves intellectually through acquisition of knowledge, leading them to new radical methods of thinking, and alternative, lateral perspectives on existing information thus rendering them more autonomous and liberated. Large increase in population coupled with a growing awareness of the benefits of education are leading governments to explore the possibility of using alternative means to provide education on a large scale, particularly as conventional educational methods are becoming increasingly expensive. One such alternative that countries in the region are considering is Distance Education. An attempt is made here to study empowerment of women through distance education and the data are collected through a structured questionnaire framed for this purpose. The questionnaire containing various aspects; their motivation, persistence and success rate in distance education was collected from a sample of 250 women acquired their level of education through the Center for Distance Education, Maulana Azad National Urdu University distributed mostly 65% among social science and 35% among science and Certificate and Diploma Courses . The results shows that women have gradually become empowered at the individual and collective levels through distance education, they have been able to address themselves to problems such as access to drinking water, payment of minimum wages, access to health services, ensuring functions of the village school, children's participation in education and have taken collective action against domestic and social violence. Hence it is suggested to include confidence building and personally development in the courses list of the university distance education center.