COL helps Commonwealth member governments to take full advantage of open, distance and technology-based approaches to expand the scale, efficiency and quality of learning. Recognising the diversity and spread of the Commonwealth, COL works with regional centres to help in the development of leadership and expertise in the field within their respective regions. The activities of the centres contribute to the achievement of COL’s programme outcomes and impact, and serve to enhance COL’s visibility.
These regional centres are as follows:
West Africa – The Regional Training and Research Institute for Distance and Open Learning (RETRIDOL)
RETRIDOL is hosted by the National Open University of Nigeria. The centre promotes capacity building and research activities in open and distance learning (ODL), while serving as a centre of expertise for Nigeria and West Africa. RETRIDOL was established in 2003.
Visit the RETRIDOL website: here.
Southern Africa – The Southern African Development Community Centre for Distance Education (SADC-CDE)
SADC-CDE is supported by the Botswana Ministry of Education and hosted by the Botswana Open University. The centre operates to increase the provision of quality distance education in the region, support research activities and undertake and promote training and development in ODL. SADC-CDE was established in 2004.
Visit the SADC-CDE website: here.
Pacific – The Pacific Centre for Open and Flexible Learning for Development (PACFOLD)
PACFOLD is hosted by the University of the South Pacific and is a ‘network of networks’ to empower Pacific communities through lifelong learning, skills development and overall access to quality learning opportunities. The centre’s priorities include advocacy and capacity building for flexible and open learning for sustainable development as well as the development of national and regional policies related to ODL. PACFOLD was established in 2013.
Visit the PACFOLD website: here.
Europe – Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning (3CL)
The Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning operates as a knowledge hub for a global network of groups, agencies, institutions and educators interested in the rapid deployment of programmes for connected learning in the Commonwealth and the European Union. 3CL is an international foundation set up by the Ministry of Education and Employment in Malta in collaboration with COL. COL serves in an advisory capacity on 3CL’s International Advisory Board. The centre was established in 2017.
Visit the 3CL website: here.
COL works with these centres to build competencies and systems for ODL, COL may provide limited support for personnel training and systems improvements while the host institution/centre underwrites all staff and logistical costs. COL may also provide guidance on the systems needed to underpin effective ODL. A fixed-term agreement, with provision for renewal, exists with each host institution/centre that specifies the roles and responsibilities of each party, including items such as staffing, accommodation, and work plans over the terms of these agreements.