Worldwide, there are 190 million unemployed people, of which 75 million are youth. In order to address this gap, two strategies are needed: (i) skills development, and (ii) job creation. With 60 per cent of the Commonwealth’s population under 30 years of age, the skilling of youth is a top priority for governments.
The Commonwealth of Learning’s (COL) current focus includes skills development as a priority. New developments in technology, in the age of the fourth industrial revolution, brings in additional challenges for skilling, updating and upgrading the skills of the existing workforce. While digital technologies are fast developing, adding to the urgent need for re-skilling, they also provide enormous opportunities for employment.
The Future of Jobs report from the World Economic Forum highlighted that mobile internet and cloud technology would amount for a 34 per cent shift in job trends. Recognising the need for skills development in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) and media, and their potential for employability and livelihoods, COL launched a project on advanced ICT skills development to develop courses and programmes on cutting edge technologies. These courses and programmes can be adopted/adapted by educational institutions in the Commonwealth to deliver skills training to the youth.
The first project started as a collaborative course development project with six open universities in Africa and Asia to develop two programmes on mobile application development and web application development. The participating universities (Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan; Indira Gandhi National Open University, India; National Open University of Nigeria; Open University Malaysia; Open University of Sri Lanka; and Open University of Tanzania) developed two courses each as open educational resources (OER) to be shared and used by anyone. The links above provide access to the 12 courses.
While the participating universities are taking steps to launch the courses and programmes, COL has shared these courses through its open access repository for reuse and adaptation by any institution. In addition, courses in the amination and multimedia diploma programme developed by Odisha State Open University, India in partnership with COL, are also now available as OER for adaptation.
COL encourages educational institutions in the Commonwealth to take advantage of these available resources as OER and offer training programmes on advanced ICT skills that would improve employment and entrepreneurship in their countries. Details of the courses and programmes can also be downloaded here. COL is looking forward to partnering with institutions to assist the youth in the Commonwealth to obtain gainful employment in order to contribute to national development.