In Sweden in the 1890s, Hans Hermod was conducting a school in languages and commercial subjects. When one of the students moved to a place about fifteen Kms away, Harmod started writing letters to him.
This gave Hermod the idea to begin printing correspondence courses. In 1898, Hermod published his first correspondence course Book-keeping. Many others soon followed.
In England in 1894, Joseph Willam Knipe, a young trainee teacher, prepared himself to pass the Certificated Teachers’ Examination. Thinking he could help others, Knipe advertised in The schoolmaster and enrolled six students whom he taught by correspondence. All were successful in their examinations. Next year, thirty students enrolled. Out of this small beginning grew Wolsey Hall, Oxford. In Australia in 1910, W.A. Grundy, a senior Health Inspector in New South Wales successfully taught nine by correspondence.
This was the inception of technical education by correspondence in Australia. In 1914, the Victorian Education Department in Australia received a letter from a settler living eight miles from the nearest school asking of anything could be done for the education of his two sons. It was referred to the vice- principal of the Teachers’ College who found five volunteers to teach the boys by correspondence.
This was the beginning of teaching children in isolated areas in Australia by correspondence. From these pioneering efforts have grown today’s correspondence teaching services. Millions of individuals throughout the world, in isolated outposts, and in the heart of cities, ranging in age from seven to seventy, are getting education by correspondence. This is combined with Radio/TV/Tape-recorder/Slides/Films, Gramophones and short-term contact programmes. In Britain education by post has a following which numbers about five lakhs.
It is increasing continually in spite of the growth of other educational facilities. Many Oxford and Cambridge under-graduates take correspondence courses from Wolsey Hall and University Correspondence College as help in courses they are perusing at the universities. In the University of Nebraska, resident students failing to pass in the university credit subjects are not readmitted to resident studies until they have re-appeared and passed as correspondence students. In Sweden, correspondence education serves nearly a million students, one out of every eight Swedes being engaged in some form of correspondence study. In Russia, part-time/extramural and correspondence education is fully developed and widely used, side by side the full-time day and the full-time evening education. In Moscow, Leningrad and Kharkov Universities, extra-mural and correspondence students amount to between 30% and 50% of the total strength in these universities. Amongst post-graduate students, more than 25% study by correspondence and part-time methods.
Correspondence education in Poland, as in other East European countries, resembles the Russian pattern. Higher educational and vocational course, through evening classes and correspondence, have increased substantially in recent years. It is felt that correspondence education helps to accomplish socio-ideological and economic goals of these countries.
In Holland, more than seven lakh students are involved in taking of correspondence courses. Holland is one of the most densely populated countries in the world a population of 12.5 millions in an area of 200 miles by 150 miles. The Dutch experience has made clear that the rapid growth of education by correspondence need not be dependent on the concept that it thrives best in countries with large areas of sparsely populated territory.
In France, West Germany and other West European countries, too, there is dramatic growth in correspondence courses. In Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, correspondence education is playing a leading role to meet the educational urge of the people. In U.S.A. and Canada, millions of people are taught by correspondence. There is an upswing of correspondence tuition throughout the world, especially after 1945.
It is due to the obsolescence of knowledge in modern society, the inability of the traditional educational patterns to cope with ever growing demand for more and more learning, and the flexibility of correspondence tuition.