COL President and CEO, Professor Asha Kanwar stressed the benefits of open and distance learning (ODL) in her lecture at the University of The Gambia (UTG) titled “Developing an ODL Policy: An International Perspective.” The lecture was part of a three-day workshop on the overview of ODL held from 20–22 June 2018. It was co-organised by COL and the Regional Training and Research Institute for Distance and Open Learning, Nigeria, in collaboration with UTG and The Gambia’s Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.
Professor Kanwar noted that a proven pathway to ameliorate the barriers to access is through the provision of ODL. Given low participation rates in higher and adult learning in The Gambia, coupled with a young population of nearly 60% who are below the age of 25, she encouraged policy makers in the country to leverage information communication technologies through ODL to increase enrolment in higher education. Affordable pathways of good quality higher education can be delivered through varying forms of ODL to meet The Gambia’s National Education Policy target.
The workshop was aimed at exposing 30 participants to ideas and implementation strategies in ODL, ranging from the establishment of fully operational open universities to distance learning centres housed in conventional institutions.