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President Faure addresses Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning |11 September 2019

President Danny Faure yesterday morning addressed delegates at the ninth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF9) at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Scotland.

More than 500 delegates from 61 countries, including Ministers of Education from around the Commonwealth, are attending the PCF9, organised by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and co-hosted with the Open University. The Pan-Commonwealth Forum is organised every three years.

Addressing those present, President Faure highlighted the theme of the PCF9 which is, ‘Empowered Youth: our common wealth,’ and explored how education can help address key challenges for young people around the world.

He said: “Thanks to technology, our youth are more aware than ever before of the opportunities that this ‘brave new world’ can provide. Today’s youth are more aspirational than their forefathers because they know that with the right education and the right opportunities, anything is possible.”

President Faure added: “While raising the aspirations of young people is important, it is not enough – we need to raise the aspirations of entire societies and communities so that an enabling ecosystem of aspiration and achievement can be created.

“However, it would be dangerous to create aspiration without providing proper access to education. Supporting young people’s access to quality education is central to ensuring a full and productive life that contributes to sustainable development. Quality education helps develop the necessary skills for the future of work, and instils the foundations of conflict prevention, civic engagement and environmental stewardship.

“To improve access, we need to think outside the box and beyond ‘brick and mortar’ approaches. We need to think in terms of open, distance and technology enabled learning, which are tried and tested mechanisms for ensuring that learning can take place at any time and in any place – and this includes formal, non-formal, informal learning opportunities. As policy makers, we need to foster inclusive educational environments that reach excluded and marginalised groups and respect the diverse needs of young people. In Seychelles, facilitating cost-effective access to education through open education resources (OER) is ingrained in our Open and Distance Learning policy and our ICT in education policy.”

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) was created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. Hosted by the Government of Canada, COL is the world’s only intergovernmental organisation solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning.


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