Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning returns to Africa

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26 April 2023, Burnaby, Canada – The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is pleased to announce that the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Botswana, to be represented by Botswana Open University (BOU), will co-host the 11th Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF11) with COL in Gaborone, Botswana in the latter half of 2025.

COL organises triennial Pan-Commonwealth Forums on Open Learning in different parts of the Commonwealth in partnership with key institutions. This will be the third Pan-Commonwealth Forum to take place in Africa with the two earlier editions held in South Africa (2002) and Nigeria (2013).

“The Botswana Ministry of Education and Skills Development and Botswana Open University have been longstanding partners of COL and organising  PCF11 in Gaborone will further consolidate our collaboration. The next wave of open universities is likely to be established in Africa so it is appropriate that we bring together stakeholders from around the world to share ideas and experiences of how we can provide quality education that is relevant, equitable and affordable,” said Professor Asha Kanwar, COL President and CEO.

Botswana’s Minister of Education and Skills Development, the Honourable Dr Douglas Letsholathebe noted, “The opportunity to co-host the 11th Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Gaborone, Botswana with COL, our long-time partner, is a very welcome development indeed for both my Ministry and the Government of Botswana. We look forward to working with COL through the Botswana Open University, and to welcoming PCF11 and its participants to Gaborone and other parts of Botswana. We thank COL for giving us this opportunity; as well as the BOU Leadership for their input in ensuring that the event becomes a reality. We shall provide the support required to ensure that PCF11 is a resounding success.”

“The Botswana Open University is indeed honoured to be given the opportunity to implement the agreement between the Ministry of Education and Skills Development and COL to co-host PCF11. We look forward to working with COL to ensure that this gathering of open learning advocates under one roof in Botswana is every bit as successful and fruitful as other previous fora have been,” added Professor Kgomotso Moahi, Acting Vice Chancellor, BOU.

The Forum is one of the world’s key events in open, distance and technology-enabled learning, attracting hundreds of delegates from across the Commonwealth and beyond. PCF11 will be offered as a hybrid event with options to attend in person and virtually where this model was well-received at PCF10 held in Calgary, Canada in September 2022.

The programme is intended to expand our understanding of open education and is designed to address online, flexible, open and distance learning through widening educational access and by advancing the social and economic development of communities and nations. The Forum’s focus will be on topics relating to, and participation by, societies in developing countries.

Since 1999, the Forum has been held in Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Jamaica, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa and the UK.

About COL

The Commonwealth of Learning was created by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 1987 to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. Headquartered in Canada, COL is the world’s only intergovernmental organisation solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning.

About BOU 

Botswana Open University is a result of the transformation of Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning (BOCODOL) to an open university. The institution develops and offers school-based and university-level programmes to extend education and training using open and distance learning methods on a national scale. Hosted by BOU, the Southern African Development Community Centre for Distance Education (SADC-CDE) is a regional centre supported by COL in partnership with BOU.

For more information, please contact:

Dave Jackson, Communications Manager, COL

Phone: 604-775-8263


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