“As many economies transition from a focus on production to one founded on knowledge, the role of universities is ever more important. But gone are the days when universities have been able to focus solely on their national contexts. Graduates can be expected to work in all corners of the world and the need to be ready for this reality puts pressure on universities to ensure that curricula and teaching facilitate students gaining appropriate skills and knowledge.” (Promoting Regional Education Surfaces Integration: APEC Universities Association Cross Border Education Cooperation Workshop, 2014)
MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)
Introduction to Sustainable Development in Business
Course site: mooc4dev.org/sdev
The key challenges facing many Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) of the Commonwealth are the growing demand for higher education, the quality of the programmes offered, and the skill mismatch between HEIs and the labour market needs. HEIs in Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, are unable to meet the demand of the burgeoning young population, demonstrated by the large gap between secondary gross enrolment (42.64%) and tertiary gross enrolment (8.79%) (World Bank, 2017).
Open, distance and technology-enhanced learning can provide a cost-effective means of increasing access to quality higher education.
COL has been working with Commonwealth governments and institutions to develop national and institutional open and distance learning (ODL) policies, to improve the quality of systems and enhance staff capacity to develop and deliver quality programmes. COL continues to promote good practices and support member countries as they seek to strengthen the credibility of ODL as a viable means of developing human resources for sustainable development.
As technologies continue to grow and new delivery modes emerge, there is a global trend towards the internationalisation of higher education, the need to address the demands of the labour market, support the activities towards the sustainable development goals, and the expectation that higher education will lead to employment and entrepreneurship. COL will provide technical advice to stakeholders as they prepare to respond to these changes by reforming the curriculum, incorporating principles of sustainable development, diversifying provision and enlarging their networks.
- Support governments and HEIs to develop and implement national and institutional ODL policies and systems.
- Promote curriculum reform in support of labour market needs and integration of sustainable development principles.
- Provide technical assistance to new open universities and support the transition of conventional institutions to dual mode.
- Facilitate institutional networking and collaboration in the development, adoption and use of ODL and technology-based models such as open educational resources (OERs).
- Support the professional development of ODL policy makers and practitioners.
COL welcomes opportunities to partner with Commonwealth governments and HEIs in order to explore collaboration in any of the areas above. Please contact us.