A map of the ICDEEWA region

Demiray, U. (2012) Leadership role for Turkey for ICDEEEWA Midas eBooks

This free e-book (in English), by Urgur Demiray of the Turkish Anadolu University, looks at the leadership role of Turkey among distance education institutions from the Balkans, South Eastern Europe, the Baltic, Turkics, Caucasia, and the Middle East Arab countries.

Anadolu University is the fourth largest university in the world by enrollment, with approximately 1 million students. Demiray argues that the international distance education organizations in the Eastern Europe/West Asia region of the world are not well organized. To fill this gap, Demiray argues that Turkey might have a leadership role in the distance education field in this region and can provide the institutions in these countries with leadership on best practices. He proposes a new regional distance education consortium, including structure and regulations, to be called ICDEEEWA (International Council for Distance Education for Eastern Europe and West Asia).


It should be noted that the International Council for Distance Education, the main international body representing distance education institutions, already collaborates with several regional associations (eight covering Europe and two covering Asia) but none that focuses specifically on the region that Professor Demiray is discussing. It will be interesting to see how the ICDE responds to Professor Demiray’s proposal.

Second, there probably is a strong need for collaboration (not the same thing as leadership) in distance education for many of the 50 countries in the region proposed by Demiray, and the Anadolu University would be a valuable partner or resource.

However, I think he has cast the net too wide. For instance, I think the Nordic countries will be surprised to learn that ‘e-transformation has been much slower in [their] education systems.’ In fact, countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland are among the world leaders in online learning. A smaller grouping that has more in common in languages and culture – and distance education and technology development –  is likely to be more successful.

Furthermore, a more collaborative model is likely to be both politically more acceptable, and practically more effective, than a leadership model, given that all educational development needs to be modified and adapted to local needs.

Nevertheless, those of you interested in the development of distance education in Eastern Europe and West Asia, and in particular those interested in the practices of the Anadolu University, will find this book a stimulating read, and Professor Demiray has provided a clear vision and a practical proposal for furthering distance education within the region.





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