Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) agreed to establish a regional centre to strengthen the use of ODL in formal, nonformal and informal learning specifically in skills development, gender equity, education and agriculture. The aim is to add value to the development process in the region. Following a study of potential hosts for the Centre, the University of the South Pacific, through the Pacific TAFE agreed to host the Centre.
It is intended that a range of institutions and civil society organisations will participate in the activities of the Centre to promote and benefit from technology‐enhanced approaches to learning. In order to consult as widely as possible, a consultation meeting was held in June 2013 to discuss and plan for the strategy and activities of the Centre.
Consultation Meeting In June 2013
17 people participated in a consultation meeting to deliberate on the establishment of the Centre. The participants came from 6 Pacific countries – Vanuatu, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, New Zealand, and Fiji – as well as Pan Pacific organisations – PACMAS (Pacific Media Assistance Scheme), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat PIFS) and femLINK – and development partners NZAID and AusAID. Different units of USP were represented.
The following planned outcomes were achieved:
- discussed aspects of development and identified how development goals can be addressed through FOL
- considered how a regional centre or network can support our work in FOL4D
suggested a structure for our association
- created a vision, mission and objectives for the regional centre
- suggested activities for the Centre
The meeting was facilitated by Alison Mead Richardson, COL Education Specialist but different participants led sessions and made inputs in a collaborative and participatory approach. This included the COL Vice President via DVD and two COL Education Specialists, Ian Pringle and Bala, via Skype from Vancouver. Each participant was given the opportunity to present their organisation and explained their role in development.
The group worked together through a range of activities and topics which included:
- an introduction to COL – the organisation and programme
- open, distance and flexible learning for development
- global Development Agenda post 2015
- regional and national development priorities
- an introduction to the partners & stakeholder analysis
- vision, mission and values of the centre
- operationalising the centre
- The name for the new centre would be – Pacific Centre for Flexible & Open Learning for Development – PACFOLD.
- Vision: A Centre which empowers Pacific communities through lifelong learning to live free and worthwhile lives.
- Mission: To be a network of networks to facilitate flexible and open learning for sustainable development in the Pacific through advocacy, communication, innovation and research.
- Values: Sustainability, Empowerment, Innovation, Flexibility and Inclusiveness.