Greetings to you on the occasion of the International Open Education Week 2016. It is that time of year for us to collectively reflect on our various efforts to promote Open Education in a very uneven world. At the Commonwealth of Learning, we believe that learning is our common wealth and for that reason it must be open and shared. Commonwealth Heads of the Government established COL in 1987 to create and widen access to opportunities for learning, by promoting co-operation between educational institutions throughout the Commonwealth, making use of the potential offered by distance education and technologies.
COL’s mandate is to increase access to quality education and to promote a collaborative culture among Commonwealth institutions. COL created free content on teacher training well before the term OER was coined. COL was the first intergovernmental organisation to adopt an OER policy in 2011. And COL played a leadership role in organising the World OER Congress, with UNESCO and the Hewlett Foundation in 2012. We strongly believe that the Open Education Resources (OER) movement is an important milestone in democratising education in the 21st century.
What does ‘open education’ mean to us? Let me highlight four key aspects.
In short, we believe that openness is all about creating a lifelong learning society which is the key to sustainable development. No one can do this alone. Let us join hands to achieve this worthy goal.