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Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF5)

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

Highlights of PCF5 appears in the October 2008 edition of COL’s newsletter, Connections and in this video.


Access to Learning for Development


  1. Governance, conflict and social justice
  2. Health
  3. Livelihoods
  4. Provision for children and young people



Asa Briggs Lecture

Professor Brenda Gourley, Vice-Chancellor, Open University in UK

Keynote Speakers

Ms Carol Bellamy, President and CEO, World Learning

Nicholas Burnett, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education

Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General

H.E. Yoweri K. Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, and Chairman of the Commonwealth. Delivered by Professor Apolo R. Nsibambi, The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Uganda

Honorary Fellows

  • Professor Anuwar Ali
  • Professor Uma Coomaraswamy
  • Professor Brenda Gourley
  • Dr Myra Harrison
  • Professor Abdul Khan
  • Mr Mahesh Chandra Pant
  • Professor Barney Pityana
  • Ms Esi Sutherland-Addy

Winners of the Excellence in Distance Education Awards (2007-2008)

Award of Excellence for Institutional Achievement

  • Namibian College of Open Learning, Namibia
  • University of Papua New Guinea, Papua New Guinea

Award of Excellence for Open and Distance Education Materials

Category A: print or other “low-end” media materials.

  • Master of Arts in Teacher Education – Faculty of Education, Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL)

Category B: interactive, electronically delivered materials.

  • OpenLearn Website – UK Open University

Award Recognising Distance Learning Experience

Category A: Degree Granting Programme

  • Mr. Kelly H. Yapa, Papua New Guinea

Category B: eLearning Experience in Difficult Circumstances

  • Mr. David Benthu Nthengwe, Democratic Republic of Congo

Forum Partners

  • University of London External System
  • The Open University, UK
  • Department for International Development (DFID), UK
  • AusAID