Distance Learning and Prisoners of War

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by ebbwvale, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale Member

    I have been a little research on some courses I may be interested in undertaking. Along the way I found some interesting material on the University of London (UOL) and distance learning. It appears that UOL provided distance learning to POWS in German Prison Camps during WW2. This provides an example of the utility of distance learning and a university commitment to serve. The following extract was drawn from Wikipedia's entry on UOL:

    "Enrolment increased steadily in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and during the Second World War there was a further increase in enrolments from soldiers stationed abroad as well as soldiers imprisoned in German POW camps.[5] Because the Geneva Convention (1929) stipulated that every prisoner of war, in addition to being entitled to adequate food and medical care, had the right to exchange correspondence and receive parcels, many British POWs took advantage of this opportunity and enrolled in the University of London External Programme. The soldiers were sent study materials by mail, and at specified intervals sat for proctored exams in the camps. Almost 11,000 exams were taken at 88 camps between 1940 and 1945.[5] Though the failure rate was high, substantial numbers of soldiers earned degrees while imprisoned."

    I wonder how many others can say this? I also wonder where the graduates ended up.
  2. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Unrelated to the second world war, Nelson Mandela studied at at UOL while in prison.
  3. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    So I should use this example when my students say, "Sorry the assignment is late, I had a tough week". I can ask, "Tougher then this?"
  4. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    I'd rather be in a state run prison with lots of international scrutiny than in a POW camp. My TKD instructor's dad escaped from a North Korean POW camp but it was not the type of escape you would want to talk too much about.
  5. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    Great example of someone overcoming extreme adversity. Certainly carries more weight than "I had a fight with my girlfriend"...
  6. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    My uncle was a POW in Korea. He has a black spade tattooed on his hand. He told the story that he was released and they hunted him like an animal to kill him for sport after he was a POW for 12 years (like a game). He actually escaped. He has never been quite "right".
  7. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    Wow, I'm sorry to hear that Randell. This guy has a heart of gold too but he is also not quite right.
    He taught his captors Japanese Karate before escaping. Then he came to America to establish TKD here in the US. He is one of the founders. J Park. Pretty cool guy but he has certainly lived a life most of us hope to never know.
  8. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale Member

    I am astounded that the Germans did not try to suppress it. The war was ideologically based and the Nazis were anti-intellectual and closed or "cleansed" universities, as well as burnt books. Here were their prisoners refusing to succumb to their captors political philosophy and learning ideals suppressed in Nazi Germany. No doubt, some of the learning material was written by persons expelled from Germany or had since been murdered by the Nazis. The students and the university were waging war on a different level. The Germans had their bodies, but not their minds, nor their spirits.
    I am sure that same principle was underpinning the University and Mandela. Distance learning and the University of London had transcended to a ideological resistance process to tyranny. Learning was a process of a passive, but powerful resistance. Hearts and minds are powerful things in warfare. The university and distance learning became a very useful model of resistance. I wonder what distance learning can do in the current conflict in Afghanistan and elsewhere?
  9. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    The PhD originated in Germany.
    Doctor of Philosophy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    There are many highly educated people and cultures of poor moral character. Take Egypt for example. There are millions of graduate educated people in Egypt and yet the country is becoming more and more intolerant toward Western and Christian culture with many Christians being targeted and killed by the military and the people.
    Obama 'deeply concerned' about Egypt violence – The 1600 Report - CNN.com Blogs
  10. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale Member

    What you say is right, however, without an education process there will be little chance for understanding. Education is a key element of cultural change. What is the alternative? Education has to be transformed into action and widely accessed for the common good to be achieved.

    Psychopaths will always remain and education is no protection against them, however, not everybody is a psychopath and education is empowerment. I think history is with me when I said that anti-intellectualism was a basic tenet of the Nazi Regime in Germany. The deprivations flowing from the first World War and coupled with a world wide depression was a perfect storm which led them to gain power under a charismatic, but anti-intellectual leader who systematically destroyed his intellectual elite opponents. He skewed the education of the young because he knew that he could not remain in power with a liberal education system. Where is he now and how long did the thousand year Reich in fact survive?
    My argument is that imprisoning the body is not enough, dictatorships need to imprison the mind. A broad education that stimulates analytical thought, accessible to as many as possible, is a defense against that. Distance education is accessible and can reach into areas where other education processes cannot. It would appear that the University of London has been doing it for some time. Perhaps a doctoral thesis for an educationalist?
  11. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    I just get sick of people blaming a lack of education or lack of money for terrorist and genocidal acts. The 9/11 attackers were both rich and educated. The Nazis were Godless atheists. So I do not believe in the typical politically correct stereotype of religious and uneducated people doing the most harm to the world. Often it is the highly educated and atheistic among us who kill the most people. I have a friend who could give you many hours of information on this very topic including numbers but I cannot. I just get sick of the idea that any time something horrible happens, it is due to too much religion, too little money or too little education.
    The atrocities happening in Egypt are being witnessed and perpetrated by a highly educated group of people who want Sharia law to triumph over basic human rights and are not worried about slaughtering innocents.
    Did you know that Bin Laden's wives all had doctorate degrees?
  12. BobbyJim

    BobbyJim New Member

    USAFI has been operating since 1942

    Not quite as old as UoL, but USAFI was providing American GI’s (including POW's) courses in 1942.

    “At the close of World War II, the twelve million men and women on active duty in the armed services of the United States had available for their use the most extensive adult education program in our nation’s history.”

    ...the largest school of correspondence instruction in the world enrolled one million students in its United States Armed Forces Institute USAFI

    The Armed Services and Adult Education

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2011
  13. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    The Soviets, too. They used to put people in prison camps for talking to others about religion. Then there is the current People's Republic of China and North Korea.

    As I mentioned in another thread, the Crusaders didn't even have access to a Bible (by design of the church), yet somehow it is one of the goodies most often pulled from the tote bag of anti-Christian fervor.
  14. ebbwvale

    ebbwvale Member

    I am not sure how religion got into the mix. I don't know where you have your information from concerning Bin Laden's wives so I cannot comment on that.

    I do know that every serious dictatorship seeks to control educational processes. Ministries of propaganda abound, in the past, Hitler Youth Groups, Communist Youth groups, and now the fanatical Islamic Madras's in Pakistan are but some examples. Alternate information was systematically "beamed" into the Soviet Union from the West during the height of the Cold War. Academics/ authors who published texts or literature that did not accord with the doctrine were expelled or imprisoned. Checkout the ability to "google" in China or try to distribute a bible in China. They do not want their people to be exposed to alternate sources of knowledge. Their brand of education is motivating the actions that you have outlined and they shut out alternatives. Education is obviously important to the dictators, perhaps it should be to us

    Fanatical Islam is ideological and, as an a result, requires an educational process that relies upon indoctrination. Education is in the thick of it. The ideological base of the fanatic's Madras has to be undercut, otherwise the revolving door continues. How else do you do it?
  15. ryoder

    ryoder New Member

    I posted this info about Bin Laden's wives elsewhere.

    These wives are pretty highly placed in the arab world. Some have PhDs and some are direct descendants of the prophet.

    I am noticing that people can be extremists and terrorists despite being highly educated and wealthy.

    Bin Laden Wives - The Six Wives of Osama bin Laden

    The Secrets of the three widows of Bin Laden - The medical and societal journal of a vitreo-retinal surgeon. | Eye Dr DeLengocky

    Khadijah Sharif - Osama's second wife
    Nine years his senior, she married Osama in 1983 and the pair had three children together. She was highly educated and said to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. Also called Umm Hamza meaning "mother of Hamza", a well-educated Saudi woman with a Ph.D. in Islamic law who became Bin Laden’s second wife, was seven years older than her husband, and the oldest of the five women he married.

    Umm Khaled is also a Saudi woman with a doctorate, in Arabic grammar.

    Bin Laden Wives - The Six Wives of Osama bin Laden
    The Secrets of the three widows of Bin Laden - The medical and societal journal of a vitreo-retinal surgeon. | Eye Dr DeLengocky

    I am a strong believer in education, however institutionalized education does have some indoctrination. The history books in elementary schools are constantly being rewritten to change the perspective.

    I guess I brought religion into it because it forms the backbone of our culture and attitudes toward thought.
  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I don't think that's still true in the West. It's a factor, but hardly the backbone.

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