The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth: a Collaborative Effort of the Small States
Observatory for Borderless Higher Education, 2009 Global Forum, ‘Global Connections- Local Impacts: Best Practices, Model and Policies for Cross-Border Higher education’, 21-24 October 2009, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by John Lesperance, Paul West and Sir John Daniel, Commonwealth of Learning // It seems particularly appropriate to present the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth, which is a collaborative effort of many Small States at this Global Forum of the Observatory for Borderless Higher Education. I say that for three reasons. // First, with 32 states involved, the VUSSC may be the borderless teaching programme with the most countries participating. // Second, these states are distributed all over the world – in the Caribbean, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and Africa – making it a global venture. // Third, unlike much cross-border education, which often has a neo-colonialist tinge, with one country exporting and others importing, this is a genuinely multi-lateral venture with no lead country. That is one reason for its success and also explains why it is a pioneer in several ways. // The name is a misnomer. The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth is not a new degree-awarding institution. It is a mechanism for the Small States of the Commonwealth to collaborate and strengthen the capacity of their national educational institutions by developing course materials together. However, since the name was chosen by the Commonwealth Ministers of Education it is here to stay. // I make this presentation on behalf of my colleagues John Lesperance and Paul West, from Seychelles and South Africa respectively, who are two of the key architects of this interesting example of borderless tertiary education.