Prof. Tamás Lajos, Co-Chairman of EDEN-EADTU Task Force Eastern Europe, Dr. András Szûcs Prof. Jacques Vauthier Co-Chairman of EDEN-EADTU Task Force Eastern Europe,
European Distance Education Network European Association of Distance Teaching Universities October 1996.
The rapid and positive change of appreciation of open and distance learning, mainly due to the development of the application of advanced information technology and the evolution of the concept of the information society, has interestingly coincided with the rapid development of open and distance learning in Central and Eastern Europe. This process has been supported and stimulated in the region to a large extent by the “PHARE Multi-Country Co-operation in Distance Education” programme. The development of the initial phase is worth a summative analysis. Since no rigid tradition or habit restricts governments and the human resource development sphere of these countries from introducing new educational methods, there is a unique chance to establish efficient and up-to-date systems of education and training, relying on the new achievements of open and distance learning and information technology. Moreover, the emerging global market of education materials and delivery systems, which can easily be considered as a consequence of the integration of open and distance learning and information technology, means certainly enhanced efficiency and quality, but in the meantime it can endanger local educational cultures if they do not follow the technical development. The “Joint Task Force for Central and Eastern Europe” has been established by two major European distance education organizations: the European Distance Education Network (EDEN) and the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), in order to promote open and distance learning in