Nine Pacific countries to be represented at Commonwealth of Learning workshop on open educational resources in Fiji
The workshop will focus on the use of OER for skills development in the Pacific.
22 June 2017 – The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) welcomed participants from nine Pacific countries to a regional workshop on open educational resources (OER) course design for technical and vocational education and training (TVET), from 26 to 29 June 2017 in Suva, Fiji. The workshop will be hosted by Pacific TAFE at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and aims to strengthen TVET in the region through the use of OER. Twenty-four TVET educators from twelve partner institutions are expected to join.
The workshop was opened by USP Deputy Vice Chancellor Teaching, Learning and Student Services, Professor Richard Coll. In his opening speech, USP DVCTLSS Coll mentioned how important this workshop was because it is addressing a critical point on how educators can effectively use OER for teaching and learning.
“The workshop aims to equip TVET educators with the skills to incorporate the latest technologies and OER practices into course materials,” said Dr Ishan Abeywardena, COL’s Adviser: Open Educational Resources and workshop facilitator.
The four-day workshop is designed to address the needs and priorities of the Pacific island states. “Many Pacific countries have indicated that increasing access to improved skills training is a priority,” said Dr Alison Mead Richardson, Educational Specialist: Technical and Vocational Skills Development. “To help address this priority, COL has been supporting the development of flexible learning materials with technical and vocational skills development partners for some years.” TVET OER courses have been developed in the Pacific in a range of subjects, including horticulture, painting, sewing, permaculture, community development, bookkeeping and working with concrete. These are all being delivered in different countries and further subjects are in development.
COL is working with government agencies and institutions in the Pacific to improve skills development through capacity building, course design and materials development, to support better opportunities for sustainable livelihoods in the formal and informal sectors.
About the Commonwealth of Learning
The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an intergovernmental organisation 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 and headquartered in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, COL is the world’s only intergovernmental organisation solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning. COL empowers people through learning that leads to economic growth, social inclusion and environmental conservation.
Recognizing the diversity and spread of the Commonwealth, COL promotes the development of leadership and expertise through various regional centers. The Pacific Centre for Open and Flexible Learning for Development (PACFOLD) is hosted by USP and is a ‘network of networks’ to empower Pacific communities through lifelong learning to live free and worthwhile lives. The center’s priorities include advocacy and capacity building for flexible and open learning for sustainable development as well as the development of national and regional policies related to open and distance learning.
The workshop was officially closed by the Director Pacific TAFE who is also Project Director for PACFOLD mr Hasmukh Lal. Participants were also handed certificates of Participation prepared by Pacific TAFE and were later treated to a cocktail which was hosted by Mr Hasmukh Lal.