Towards a Commonwealth of Learning: Twenty Years of Progress
Luncheon Meeting for Commonwealth Heads of Mission, Ottawa, ON, October 18, 2007 // I must begin by thanking our host His Excellency David Clifford Saviye, High Commissioner of the Republic of Zambia, for giving me this opportunity to talk about my organisation, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), to such a distinguished audience. I recall that I made a presentation last October at DFAIT-chaired by the inimitable Ferry de Kerckhove-at which I outlined our new Three year Plan entitled ' Learning for Development'. This was endorsed by the 16 th Commonwealth Conference of Education Ministers in Cape Town last December. As we prepare for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Kampala next month, I will give you a brief overview of our journey over the last twenty years. // When Heads of Government decided to set up the Commonwealth of Learning at the Vancouver CHOGM held in 1987, they saw this as an imaginative response to stemming the brain drain that was weakening 'the member states' capacities for social and economic development'. COL was set up to strengthen higher education in the developing world by making use of the potential of distance and technology enhanced education. Traditional teaching methods cannot cope with the scale and diversity of learning needs, but rapidly evolving information and communication technologies can help bring quality learning to millions of Commonwealth citizens.