Basic astronomy as part of a general higher education in the developing world
This paper describes a new initiative in support of the aim of Commission 46 of the IAU to develop and improve astronomy education at all levels throughout the world. This paper discusses the ideal specification of a facility to support basic astronomy within education
programmes which are delivered to students who have access to the Internet. The available robotic telescopes are discussed against this specification and it is argued that the Bradford Robotic Telescope, uniquely, can support many thousands of users in the area of basic astronomy education, and the resource is free.
Access to the Internet is growing in the developing world and this is true in education programmes. This paper discusses the serious problems of delivering to large numbers of students a web based astronomy education programme supported by a robotic telescope as part of a
general education. It examines the problems of this form of teaching for teachers who have little experience of working with IT and little knowledge of basic astronomy and proposes how such teachers can be supported.
The current system (http://www.telescope.org/) delivers astronomy education in the language, culture and traditions of England. The paper discusses the need to extend this to other languages, cultures and traditions, although for trainee teachers and undergraduates, it is argued that the current system provides a unique and valuable resource.