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Speech at launch of TV Open Learning Project, Melbourne



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SPEECH FOR THE HON PETER BALDWIN MP

TO INTRODUCE THE TV OPEN LEARNING PROJECT AT THE LAUNCH

MELBOURNE - MONDAY 17 FEBRUARY 1992

I AM VERY PLEASED TO BE HERE THIS MORNING AT THE LAUNCH

OF THE TV OPEN LEARNING PROJECT. .

AS YOU KNOW, THE PROJECT IS AN INITIATIVE OF THE

COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT AND IS DESIGNED TO IMPROVE ACCESS

TO HIGHER EDUCATION. THE COMMONWEALTH HAS PROVIDED $2

MILLION FOR THE PILOT STAGE IN 1992 AND 1993 AND

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY THE ABC AND THE

FIVE UNIVERSITIES INVOLVED IN THE CONSORTIUM UNDERTAKING

THE PROJECT.

THE GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO INCREASING PARTICIPATION

AT ALL LEVELS OF POST-COMPULSORY EDUCATION AND TRAINING

TO HELP REALISE NATIONAL AND SOCIAL OBJECTIVES. THE

CONTINUED GROWTH PROVIDED TO THE HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM

IN RECENT YEARS IS A REFLECTION OF THIS COMMITMENT.

IN ADDITION TO ITS COMMITMENT TO GROWTH, THE GOVERNMENT

IS ALSO KEEN TO EXPLORE WAYS OF DIVERSIFYING THE DELIVERY

OF HIGHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS. MANY OF YOU WILL ALREADY BE

AWARE OF MY VIEWS ON THE NEED TO EXAMINE THE POTENTIAL

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OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES TO IMPROVE

THE QUALITY AND EFFICIENCY OF HIGHER EDUCATION PROVISION.

TO THIS END I HAVE ANNOUNCED A RANGE OF INITIATIVES,

INCLUDING A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF MODES OF DELIVERY IN

HIGHER EDUCATION, DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE GREATER

FLEXIBILITY WITHIN THE SYSTEM.

THE TV OPEN LEARNING PROJECT FITS VERY WELL INTO THE

GOVERNMENT'S OBJECTIVES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. IT WILL

EXTEND ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION TO PEOPLE WHO FOR

VARIOUS REASONS ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND ON CAMPUS COURSES.

BUT THE PROJECT WILL DO MORE THAN EXTEND ACCESS. BY

USING A NATIONAL TELEVISION NETWORK, THE ABC, TO SCREEN

PARTS OF UNIVERSITY COURSES, THE PROJECT WILL OPEN UP

POSSIBILITIES FOR PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE OF THE

COUNTRY REGARDLESS OF LOCATION. IN THIS WAY THE TV

PROGRAMS WILL INCREASE PUBLIC AWARENESS OF THE

POSSIBILITIES WITHIN HIGHER EDUCATION.

THE PROJECT WILL PROVIDE A 'TASTE' OF HIGHER EDUCATION TO

PEOPLE WHO WOULD NOT NORMALLY THINK OF UNDERTAKING

UNIVERSITY STUDY. VIEWERS WILL BE ABLE TO GAIN AN

INSIGHT INTO THE KEY ISSUES AND CONCEPTS IN A RANGE OF

SUBJECTS AND, IF THEY WISH, TEST THEIR INTEREST AND

APTITUDE FOR UNIVERSITY STUDY BY PURCHASING THE STUDY

MATERIALS AND FOLLOWING THE UNITS IN MORE DEPTH.

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NOTHER IMPORTANT FEATURE OF THIS PROJECT IS THAT IT WILL

TEST THE FEASIBILITY OF USING BROADCAST TELEVISION AS A

MEANS OF DELIVERING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS. AS A RESULT

THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE FOLLOWING THE PROGRESS AND

OUTCOMES OF THIS PROJECT WITH CONSIDERABLE INTEREST, AS

WILL, I AM SURE, THE EDUCATION SECTOR AND THE COMMUNITY.

THE FINDINGS FROM THE TV OPEN LEARNING PROJECT WILL MAKE

A VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION TO THE DEBATE ON THE ROLE OF

BROADCAST TELEVISION IN THE EDUCATION SYSTEM.

TELEVISION, OF COURSE, IS ONLY ONE OF A RANGE OF

TECHNOLOGIES WHICH COULD BE USED FOR EDUCATIONAL

DELIVERY. IT HAS ONE DECIDED ADVANTAGE, HOWEVER, AND

THAT IS OF BEING POSSIBLY THE MOST WIDELY ACCESSIBLE FORM

OF TECHNOLOGY WITHIN THE COMMUNITY. TELEVISION IS ALSO

VERY READILY ACCEPTED BY THE COMMUNITY AS A MEANS OF

ENTERTAINMENT AND PROVIDER OF INFORMATION. I CONSIDER

THAT IT IS CERTAINLY WORTH EXPLORING WHETHER IT IS VIABLE

FOR TELEVISION TO TAKE ON A FURTHER DIMENSION - THAT OF

EDUCATIONAL DELIVERY.

THIS IS NOT THE FIRST VENTURE BY AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES

INTO THE FIELD OF EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION. BUT, IT IS THE

FIRST TIME THAT FIVE UNIVERSITIES HAVE COME TOGETHER WITH

A NATIONAL TELEVISION NETWORK TO DEVELOP AND DELIVER

UNIVERSITY-LEVEL UNITS. IT IS THE SCALE OF THIS PROJECT

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THE COLLABORATION OF FIVE UNIVERSITIES AND THE USE OF

NATIONAL TELEVISION - WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING

FEATURES OF THIS PROJECT AND WHICH SETS IT APART FROM

EARLIER ACTIVITIES.

THE DEGREE OF CO-OPERATION WHICH HAS BEEN ACHIEVED

BETWEEN THE EDUCATORS AND THE BROADCASTERS IS TO BE

COMMENDED. TODAY'S LAUNCH REPRESENTS THE CULMINATION OF

SOME VERY INTENSIVE DEVELOPMENTAL WORK BY THE CONSORTIUM

AND THE ABC. IT WAS ONLY IN MAY LAST YEAR THAT I

ANNOUNCED THAT A BROAD CONSORTIUM BASED ON MONASH

UNIVERSITY, THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND AND THE

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA HAD BEEN SELECTED TO

DEVELOP THE PROJECT.

IN THE NINE MONTHS SINCE THEN, THE CONSORTIUM HAS BEEN

EXPANDED TO INCLUDE DEAKIN AND GRIFFITH UNIVERSITIES AND

THE ABC HAS BEEN ENGAGED AS THE BROADCASTER. THE

CONSORTIUM HAS WORKED VERY ENTHUSIASTICALLY WITH THE ABC

TO PREPARE HIGH QUALITY STUDY MATERIALS AND TV PROGRAMS,

SAMPLES OF WHICH WE WILL SEE THIS MORNING. ALL

ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROJECT ARE TO BE CONGRATULATED FOR

THEIR ENERGY, INITIATIVE AND CO-OPERATION IN TAKING UP

THE CHALLENGE, SOMETIMES IN THE FACE OF OPPOSITION AND

SOME SCEPTICISM, TO TRIAL A NEW EDUCATIONAL VENTURE.

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PROJECT IS NOW AT A MOST EXCITING STAGE. THE

INITIAL, DEVELOPMENTAL PHASE HAS BEEN COMPLETED AND THE

TV PROGRAMS WILL BE GOING TO AIR IN A FEW DAYS. PUBLIC

RESPONSE TO THE PROJECT TO DATE HAS BEEN VERY ENCOURAGING

AND IT HAS BEEN PARTICULARLY HEARTENING TO SEE THE HIGH

DEGREE OF INTEREST WHICH HAS BEEN GENERATED IN RURAL AND

REMOTE AREAS. PEOPLE FROM THESE AREAS HAVE TRADITIONALLY

BEEN UNDER-REPRESENTED IN HIGHER EDUCATION AND FORM PART

OF THE TARGET AUDIENCE WHICH THIS PROJECT IS DESIGNED TO

REACH.

THE TV OPEN LEARNING PROJECT HAS GENERATED CONSIDERABLE

INTEREST AND ENTHUSIASM. IT IS AN EXCITING EDUCATIONAL

VENTURE AND THE GOVERNMENT IS VERY PLEASED TO SUPPORT THE

PROJECT. I WILL BE FOLLOWING ITS PROGRESS WITH KEEN

INTEREST.

ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT I WOULD LIKE TO WISH ALL

ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROJECT - THE FIVE UNIVERSITIES, THE

ABC AND THE STUDENTS - EVERY SUCCESS FOR THE FUTURE.