085_Global12_CWN_V4

Global issue 12

A farmer in rural India listens to a lesson to the United Kingdom, and includes repre- commonwealth networkClose-up The Commonwealth of Learning about goat-rearing on her mobile phone. A sentatives from all four regions of the Com- high school drop-out in Tonga resumes her monwealth. COL’s new president and CEO studies through distance learning. A teacher is Professor Asha Kanwar, one of the world’s in Jamaica learns how to use computers to leading advocates of learning for development. augment his lessons. A young mother in All 54 Commonwealth member countries Malawi listens to a radio show about how benefit from COL’s work, which addresses to keep her baby healthy. A university lec- headquartered in Vancouver, COL is the the key learning and development chal- turer in Seychelles contributes to a new on- world’s only intergovernmental organisation lenges associated with the UN Millennium line learning programme about sustainable solely concerned with the promotion and devel- Development Goals and Education for All tourism. opment of open and distance learning (ODL). targets. These include gender equity, sus- Technology is transforming learning and Established at the request of Commonwealth tainable development, environmental pro- livelihoods around the world. The Common- heads of government in 1987, COL receives a tection and civil rights, as well as the Com- wealth of Learning (COL) is leading the way, significant overall level of funding, coopera- monwealth objectives of peace, democracy, helping developing countries increase their tion and support from developing countries. equality and good governance. access to learning using distance education The international Board of Governors is and appropriate technologies. chaired by the Hon. Burchell Whiteman, O.J., For more information visit: www.col.org Hosted by the government of Canada and the former Jamaican High Commissioner Harnessing education potential With the recent appointment of its first female president, the Commonwealth of Learning is on a determined path to tackle the education and learning challenges of its member countries through its latest three-year plan Since it was established more than 20 educators from across the Commonwealth years ago, the Commonwealth Of Learning were taught online course development (COL) has sharpened its focus. It aims to skills and collaborated to create new cours- deliver long-term benefits by developing es that have since become freely available innovative models for scale and sustaina- as open educational resources. bility, to build capacity for lifelong learning COL formally reports to Commonwealth for development, and to provide value by education ministers every three years. Pro- sharing world-class expertise on open and fessor Kanwar attended the 18th Confer- distance learning (ODL) and technology- ence of Commonwealth Education Minis- based approaches to education. ters (18CCEM) in Mauritius in August to COL’s new three-year plan embodies nium Development Goals and Education for present the new three-year plan. Ministers these aims and emphasises skills develop- All targets. welcomed her appointment as president of ment, the education of girls and women, “The new three-year plan is based on COL, “the first woman to head a Common- and the promotion of open educational re- extensive consultation with stakeholders wealth inter-governmental organisation”. sources. The theme of the three-year plan for across the Commonwealth,” explains new The ministers commended COL for “its 2012–2015 is ‘Learning for Development’ COL president, Professor Asha Kanwar. growing impact since 17CCEM, especially and it is based on three strategic goals: quali- “The result is a highly focused plan that in relation to its needs-based work in each ty education for all Commonwealth citizens, harnesses the potential of ODL to respond member state.” They endorsed the three- human resources development and the use of to the learning needs of the Commonwealth year plan for 2012–15, emphasising the ODL in achieving development goals. countries we serve.” need to strengthen VUSSC and develop the Quality education for all includes in- Recent COL projects have included sup- use of open educational resources in pro- creased access to affordable primary, sec- porting the expansion of open schooling viding quality teaching and learning for all. ondary and tertiary education, especially for in Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tonga, By providing more access to quality educa- girls, women and the marginalised. Human providing ‘second chance’ education for tion and training through open, distance and resources in the Commonwealth are devel- school drop-outs and unemployed youth; eLearning, COL enables Commonwealth oped through implementing sustainable and a week-long workshop in Tanzania at the citizens to benefit from improved livelihoods, replicable learning systems in the formal and Institute of Adult Education focused on greater gender equity and overall economic, informal sectors. By improving the capacity empowering female academic staff with social and cultural development. of governments and civil society to provide information and communication technol- quality learning, Commonwealth countries ogy skills; and a VUSSC materials devel- Karen Speirs, Commonwealth of Learning can progress towards achieving the Millen- opment workshop in the Maldives where globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l85


Global issue 12
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