Fiji has officially joined the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an intergovernmental organisation established by the Commonwealth Heads of Government that is designed to assist Commonwealth member states in encouraging the use of open learning and distance education knowledge.
Fiji’s membership in the COL has opened up immediate opportunities for collaboration in the education sector, particularly in technology skills training, capacity building and curriculum development.
At a meeting between Fijian Attorney-General and Minister responsible for Education Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and the President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, Professor Asha Kanwar, they explored a range of tailored initiatives that COL will undertake in partnership with the Fijian Government, the specifics of which will be announced in the coming weeks.
“I can’t think of a better occasion to welcome Fiji to the Commonwealth of Learning than 20CCEM,” said Professor Kanwar. “We’re very happy that COL will now be able to work much more closely with institutions and the Ministry of Education to promote the Fijian Government’s development agenda.”
Stressing the need for making all forms of technology more appropriate, affordable, and accessible, Professor Kanwar also proposed strategies for honing skills training of Fijian students, with a particular focus on girls in some of Fiji’s most remote areas. She proposed the use of specialised tools that would be well-suited for Fiji’s most deep-rural and maritime communities, such as solar-rechargeable tablets outfitted with educational mobile applications that can be used off-line.
The Attorney-General welcomed Fiji’s new membership as part of Government’s commitment to growth through collaboration, and noted that it is a significant step in its efforts to bridge the digital divide.
“The Fijian Government is fully committed to providing Fijian students, at early ages, with the tools that give access to cutting edge teaching and learning approaches, and to give students in our technical colleges access to technology and relevant expertise to help them secure high paying jobs in our growing economy,” said Sayed-Khaiyum. “Our membership in the COL will give us new opportunities to deliver the right tools and technologies into the hands of Fijian students and create classroom environments, at every level of the Fijian education system, that best prepare students for the demands of the modern workplace. We are proud to join the COL and we are keen to take full advantage of every opportunity our membership offers.”
Fiji’s COL membership has been endorsed by Fiji’s Cabinet and takes effect immediately.