Policy Deficit in Distance Education: A Transactional Distance


  • Sushita Gokool-Ramdoo University of South Australia




distance education, open learning, higher education, pedagogy, policy development, distance education in sub-Saharan Africa, transactional distance theory, quality assurance, systems approach


This paper innovatively extends the application of transactional distance theory (TDT) to evidence-based policy development in Mauritius. In-depth interview data on student persistence from a range of stakeholders is used to understand the implications of distance education (DE) policy deficit. Policy deficit has surfaced as another dimension of transactional distance and student persistence as an appropriate measuring instrument. Transactional distance is salient in the non-alignment of national and institutional DE planning. Associated results are myopic institutional vision, stagnating national plans, poor resource deployment, and ill-understood opportunities for personal development. This research validates TDT as an instrument for policy development and concludes that supporting advocacy plans will help to achieve sustainable distance education in the region. Lessons from the field in Mauritius can be usefully adapted to the sub-Saharan African context (SSA). These preliminary indications require further research and discussion.

Author Biography

Sushita Gokool-Ramdoo, University of South Australia

Sushita Gokool-Ramdoo is currently Senior Advisor to the Mauritian Minister of Environment and National Development Unit. Her mandate is to develop a National Environmental Literacy program. She is on leave without pay from the Tertiary Education Commission, Mauritius which she had joined in 2003. Sponsored by a UK Commonwealth Scholarship, she earned a Masters in Education and International Development from the Institute of Education, University of London in 1998. Her area of specialization is women, distance education and development. A recipient of the Junior Fulbright scholarship in 2002, Mrs. Gokool-Ramdoo was registered as a doctoral student at The Pennsylvania State University, USA. Mrs. Gokool-Ramdoo can be reached via email at: sxg288@yahoo.com



How to Cite

Gokool-Ramdoo, S. (2009). Policy Deficit in Distance Education: A Transactional Distance. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v10i4.702