Teacher Education: the Role of Open and Distance Learning

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Perraton, Hilary
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Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver

In recent years the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has convened an annual meeting with partner agencies working in the field of teacher education. Its purpose is to share updates on our activities and to explore ways of expanding and improving teacher education, notably through the use of new approaches and technologies. The 2010 meeting was convened in Vancouver on July 26th by COL’s Education Specialist for Teacher Education, Dr. Abdurrahman Umar. It brought together representatives of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Central Institute of Educational Technology (India), the Joint Board of Teacher Education (Jamaica), the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka, the National Commission for Colleges of Education (Nigeria), the University of Papua New Guinea, the UK Open University (TESSA programme), UNESCO, UNICEF and COL. During their discussions members of the group noted a widespread lack of awareness within Ministries of Education about alternative approaches to teacher education. In particular, the major role that open, distance and technology-mediated learning has played and continues to play in both pre-service and in-service education is not fully appreciated. To apprise Ministries of Education and the wider higher education community more fully about the potential of these alternative methods, the partners agreed that the Commonwealth of Learning should commission a short critical review of the role of open and distance learning in teacher education worldwide. They believe that this information will be helpful in governmental and institutional policy making. COL commissioned one of its honorary fellows, Dr. Hilary Perraton, who is recognised internationally as an authority in the field, to conduct the review. I welcome his very thorough report and am grateful to UNESCO for giving me the opportunity to present it as part of the programme of 2010 World Teachers’ Day on October 5th.- Sir John Daniel, President & C.E.O., Commonwealth of Learning

Teacher Education