A major goal of Asian distance education is the creation of effective formal and nonformal programs for the benefit of the poor and needy; and the primary place in which distance education usually takes place is the home. This article addresses issues fundamental to the spread of distance education in Asia—factors affecting domestic and social life in urban and rural settings, and the individual's ability to take advantage of ICT-based distance education and training opportunities. The analysis has been conducted in the context of a study of issues and challenges affecting impoverished, urban women homeworkers in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. This article discusses the study's findings for Malaysia only, based on data collected at three Malaysian sites—Klang Valley, Ipoh, and Penang. It illustrates the urgent need for urban and rural learners alike to be served by up-to-date, ICT-equipped learning centers (Latchem, 2001). It discusses the extent to which working and learning from home are currently supported by information and communication technologies (ICTs), and it examines deep social problems that impede this support. As a description of the context to which effective distance education methods must adapt, the article builds on the recent account of home schooling in rural Queensland, Australia (Green, 2006). For distance educators, the article indicates that ICT-based methods can only become a viable supplier of distance education and training to women learners in Malaysia when the social and gender-related challenges faced by this vulnerable sector of society have been overcome.
Loh-Ludher, L. L. The Socioeconomic Context of Home-Based Learning by Women in Malaysia. Distance Education (2007) 28 (2) 179-193. [DOI: 10.1080/01587910701439233]