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 56-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 (PCF) is held triennially. It is co-hosted with different partners in different regions of the Commonwealth. The 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.
The Asa Briggs Lecture honours the founding Chairman of the Board of Governors of COL and distinguished British historian, the late Rt. Hon. Lord Briggs of Lewes, who was instrumental in COL’s establishment and is delivered at each of these events by a distinguished Commonwealth figure.