Virtual University, Flexible Learning: Why a Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth?

Daniel, John
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Corporate Author
Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

Orientation and Planning Meeting for Government Representatives of Small States of the Commonwealth held at the National Institute of Education, Singapore, 12 September 2005, VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY, FLEXIBLE LEARNING, Why a Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth? By: Sir John Daniel, President and CEO, Commonwealth of Learning // It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this unique meeting. You have come from all parts of the Commonwealth. I hope you have travelled comfortably to this extraordinary city state of Singapore. // You all come from the small states that make up two-thirds of the 53 countries in membership of the Commonwealth. Small, in this context, refers either to population or to geographical size - or to both. Most of the small states of the Commonwealth are small islands with small populations located in the Caribbean, in the Pacific and in the Indian Ocean. But there are also landlocked states with small populations such as Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana - although Botswana is not small geographically. There are also coastal states with small populations such as The Gambia and Belize, which are geographically small, and Guyana and Namibia, which are rather large. // Despite their diversity small states face common challenges. Commonwealth small states, as well as constituting two-thirds of Commonwealth membership, account for three-quarters of all the world's small states. This means that the Commonwealth intergovernmental organisations, that is to say the Commonwealth of Learning, the Commonwealth Foundation and the Commonwealth Secretariat, must lead the international community by the special attention that they give to these states in their work. // What can we say about the general needs of small states? You all come from small states and know much more about the opportunities and the threats that they face than I do. Seen in a world perspective through the lens of the Millennium Development Goals small states do face special challenges.

Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC),Flexible Learning