The objectives of this pilot are to:
1) identify the main regulatory frameworks that apply to distance and online education in one region of the world;
2) collate the existing laws, policies, rules and regulations related to distance and online education in that region in a database;
3) compare the frameworks of all countries within the region and identify similarities and differences; and
4) provide case studies as examples of distance and online education practice under the regulations currently extant within the region.
We propose to explore the regulatory frameworks for distance higher education of some key members of the ASEAN and the Pacific Island Forum nations within the Asia/Pacific region. This would involve a survey of existing literature and regulatory agency material for some of the following countries: ASEAN: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Pacific Islands Forum countries of Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji (suspended on 2 May 2009), Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. This region will provide a pilot study area that is sufficiently diverse to offer opportunities for comparison. It includes large and small scale nations, which have differing operational contexts, advantages, challenges and constraints. Distance education is a priority area of cooperation among many of the countries in this region. Therefore, the various perspectives available within the study area will allow the database to be piloted and assessed for appropriateness in different national regulatory contexts, as well as in institutional contexts that vary with regard to ownership, size, technology base, integration (of open and distance learning with other methods) and collaborative relationships.