Open and distance learning in the Philippines was initiated by the US-based International Correspondence Schools (ICS) programmes in 1940.
Due to the existence of many traditional tertiary institutions and the view that open and distance learning was inferior, its popularity remained low until the 1990s when the growing use of ICTs improved the image and prospects of open and distance learning worldwide. By 1995 several institutions were offering open and distance learning programmes, including the government-owned consortium (Continuing Science Education for Teachers), the Philippine Women.s University (PWU), University of Mindanao (UM), University of the Philippines Los Baņos (UPLB), the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), and the Visayas State College of Agriculture (ViSCA). PUP and ViSCA were transformed into fully-fledged open universities in 1990 and 1997 respectively.
Current prospects for open and distance learning, including the possibility of government funding, have attracted more colleges and universities to initiate open and distance learning programmes. However, the lack of open and distance learning experience has led to haphazardly managed and delivered open and distance learning programmes. This has led to the promulgation of new policies and guidelines in order to eliminate abuse of the system and to enhance quality in all open and distance learning institutions.
More people and institutions are becoming connected to the Internet, raising the prospects for Internet-based education. Currently, however, printed material, radio, television and occasional face-to-face remain dominant. Open and distance learning in the Philippines does not face a great challenge from foreign delivered online education, whose costs are unaffordable for most people.