Higher Education

“As many economies transition from a focus on production to one founded on knowledge, the role of universities is ever more important. But gone are the days when universities have been able to focus solely on their national contexts. Graduates can be expected to work in all corners of the world and the need to be ready for this reality puts pressure on universities to ensure that curricula and teaching facilitate students gaining appropriate skills and knowledge.”

Promoting Regional Education Surfaces Integration:
APEC Universities Association Cross Border Education Cooperation Workshop (2014)



Many developing countries seek to increase participation in higher education but lack the resources to do so. The average participation rate is under 10% in sub-Saharan Africa, under 15% in South Asia and about 25% in the Caribbean (OECD, 2012).

Open, distance and technology-enhanced learning can provide a cost-effective means of increasing access to quality higher education.

COL has been working with Commonwealth governments and institutions to develop national and institutional ODL policies, to improve the quality of systems and enhance staff capacity to develop and deliver quality programmes.   COL will continue to promote good practices and support member states as they seek to strengthen the credibility of ODL as a viable means of developing human resources for their economic and social development.

As technologies continue to grow and new delivery modes emerge such as MOOCs, there is a global trend towards the internationalisation of higher education, the need to address the demands of the labour market and the expectation that higher education will lead to employment and entrepreneurship. COL will provide technical advice to stakeholders as they prepare to respond to these changes by reforming the curriculum, diversifying provision and enlarging their networks.

COL will:

  • Support governments and HEIs to develop and implement national and institutional ODL policies and systems.
  • Promote curriculum reform in support of labour market needs
  • Provide technical assistance to new open universities and support the transition of conventional institutions to dual mode.
  • Facilitate institutional networking and collaboration in the development, adoption and use of ODL and technology-based models such as MOOCs and OER.
  • Support the professional development of ODL policy makers and practitioners.

COL welcomes opportunities to partner with Commonwealth governments and higher education institutions in order to explore collaboration in any of the areas above. Please contact us.

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