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COL Awards

Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning  

In response to our Call for Expressions of Interest to host COL's Eighth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF8), COL received 13 applications from around the Commonwealth and are very grateful to each institution/organisation for their interest.  In October 2014, it was announced that  COL will partner with the Open University of Malaysia (OUM) to host PCF8 and will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2016. Exact dates have not yet been announced.


Established in 1988, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) was inspired by the vision that the peoples of the Commonwealth must and can have access to knowledge, regardless of where they live and whether they are rich or poor.  Member governments have given COL a mandate to encourage the development and sharing of open and distance learning knowledge, materials, expertise, technologies and other resources. Working with, and providing services to hundreds of institutions throughout the 53-member Commonwealth, COL is helping to increase the capacities of developing nations to meet the demands for improving access to quality education and training.

COL's Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning is held triennially. It is co-hosted with different partners in different regions of the Commonwealth. The three-day programme is designed to explore applications of open and distance learning in widening educational access, bridging the digital divide and advancing the social and economic development of communities and nations at large. The Forum's focus is on topics relating to developing countries and participation of practitioners from these countries. COL's Excellence in Distance Education Awards are also presented at the Forum.

The Commonwealth of Learning held the First Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Brunei Darussalam, followed by the Second Forum in 2002 in Durban, South Africa. The Third Pan-Commonwealth Forum was held 4-8 July 2004 in Dunedin, New Zealand, and PCF4 was held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica from 30 October - 3 November 2006.

The Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF5) was held in London, from 13-17 July 2008, hosted in collaboration with the University of London. Over 700 educators from more than 70 countries explored how open and distance learning can help achieve international development goals and education for all.

The Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF6) took place from 24 - 28 November 2010 at Le Méridien Cochin Resort & Convention Centre (Kochi, Kerala), India, in partnership with India's Indira Gandhi National Open University. Theme: "Access & Success in Learning: Global Development Perspectives."

COL’s Seventh Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF7) was held in Abuja, Nigeria from 2 - 6 December 2013, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). The Forum addressed "Open Learning for Development: Towards Empowerment and Transformation" through five themes: "Girls’ and Women’s Education", "Skills Development", "Promoting Open Educational Resources (OER)", "Innovation and Technology" and "Institutional Development". A summary description of PCF7 and its results appears in the March 2014 edition of COL's newsletter, Connections.

COL’s Eighth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF8) will be held in Malaysia in 2016. COL will partner with the Open University of Malaysia (OUM), which has a successful track record of hosting international conferences. OUM was established in 2000 as Malaysia’s seventh private university. It is owned by a consortium of the country’s 11 public universities and holds the unique status as Malaysia’s first fully-fledged ODL institution. OUM has been awarded the COL Excellence in Distance Education award and its President & Vice-Chancellor, Tan Sri Professor Anuwar Ali, is a COL Fellow.