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PCF2 CD - Flash Version

Delegates attending the Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning were supplied with a CD-ROM that includes detailed programme information and a searchable database of the conference papers. The contents of this CD-ROM are available here through Flash programming (downloading a Flash plug-in may be necessary for older web browsers). The initial download is 240 KB. The CD-ROM was designed and developed by the Integrated Technology Centre, a department of Technikon SA.
Flash programming was developed by The Commonwealth of Learning.

REPORT on the Conference by Tony Mays, Conference Chair.

THE NEXT Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF3) will be held in Dunedin, New Zealand: 4 – 8 July 2004





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2nd Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning
29 July 2002 - 2 August 2002

International Convention Centre
ICC - Durban


The Commonwealth represents one quarter of the world’s population and a rich diversity of races, cultures, creeds and beliefs. One of the imperatives facing all of the member nations of the Commonwealth, large or small, rich or poor, is the need to prepare their peoples to meet the challenges in this new millennium. Open learning is a valuable and increasingly powerful means of access and flexibility in initial and lifelong education and for training and empowering not only the disadvantaged and the marginalised, but indeed all people.


Established in 1988, The Commonwealth of Learning was inspired by the vision that the peoples of the Commonwealth must and can have access to knowledge, regardless of where they live and whether they are rich or poor. Member governments have given COL a mandate to encourage the development and sharing of open and distance learning knowledge, materials, expertise, technologies and other resources. Working with, and providing services to hundreds of institutions throughout the 54-member Commonwealth, COL is helping to increase the capacities of developing nations to meet the demands for improving access to quality education and training. Please visit for further information.


NADEOSA is the undisputed mouthpiece for open and distance education in South Africa. It is also a full member of DEASA, the regional association. NADEOSA is the only representative body in the country and includes members from higher, further, and general education institutions, as well as those in adult basic education and training. Its membership includes at least 80% of distance education initiatives in South Africa and collectively serves at least 650 000 distance education learners in Southern Africa. Its members represent public, private and non-governmental institutions and range from the oldest distance education university in the world (UNISA) to some of the newest small institutions in the country. Please visit for more information.


The Department of Education develops policies and sets norms and standards for education in South Africa. The Department of Education also monitors these norms, standards and policies in provinces. The nine Provincial Education Departments are responsible for the implementation of these policies and standards. 

The vision of the Department is to ensure that all South Africans have access to lifelong education and training, which contributes towards improving the quality of life and the building of a peaceful, prosperous and democratic society. The Department’s mission is to transform the South African education and training system for the 21st century.

As part of the transformation, the Department of Education has introduced an outcomes-based curriculum that is being phased in. In addition to curriculum transformation, the Minister of Education, Professor Kader Asmal, has launched the Tirisano campaign to identify areas of need that should be impacted upon with urgent interventions.

The Department of Education is committed to the professional and academic growth of all South Africans and hopes for the involvement of everyone towards the accomplishment of this goal. 


Following the tradition established in 1999 in Brunei Darussalam, the second Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning will be held from 29 July to 2 August 2002 at the International Convention Centre in Durban in the Kwa Zulu-Natal Province of South Africa. This event is being organised with the full support of COL’s open and distance learning professional associations. 

Open Learning: Transforming Education for Development

With this theme the Forum is structured to enable participants from all the countries of the Commonwealth to:

    • extend open and distance learning into all aspects of education, training and human resource development
    • develop effective leadership, management and staff development in open and distance learning
    • share ideas, expertise, research and best practice in the development and delivery of open and distance learning
    • strengthen and extend collaboration and networking
    • plan for future open and distance learning activities throughout the Commonwealth
    • enhance open and distance learning on the African continent, in an attempt to contribute to economic growth and the alleviation of poverty and suffering.
The second Forum will again examine open and distance learning in a broad range of applications.It will showcase what is achievable with vision, concern for the learner, effective learning and learning facilitation, and utilising and increasing appropriate use of technology. Agendas ranging from the eradication of illiteracy (the scourge of the under-developed) to postgraduate and professional education will again be aired. 
Keynote and plenary presentations will set the context for the Forum and the agenda for the doorway to the new millennium of open and distance learning in the Commonwealth. Case studies, workshops, poster displays and examples of work will encompass the following sub-themes: 
    • Overcoming barriers to access and success
    • Open and distance learning, the world of work and economic development
    • Open and distance learning, the community and social development
    • Overcoming the digital divide: innovative applications of technology in open and distance learning
    • Education for all: ODL and the global agenda on poverty alleviation 
The Forum focuses on the needs of professionals, practitioners, students and other parties interested in open and lifelong learning, such as: 
    • Government and non-government agencies responsible for education, health, agriculture, primary, industrial, labour and human resource development
    • Management and planners at all levels of tertiary, secondary, primary and non-formal/ community education and training organisations
    • Public and private sector providers of open learning and training
    • Communication technology companies and providers
    • Open learning organisations, educational media, library and information technology practitioners and student development and support practitioners and researchers
    • Voluntary and community development agencies and organisations involved with open and distance learning
    • All open and distance education students at all levels of development, including postdoctoral students
    • Any person or party involved with, or interested in open and distance learning. 


This second Forum is again being designed to achieve maximum participation and interaction between all delegates and also hopes to meet the interests and needs of students and newcomers to open learning without neglecting the requirements of experienced practitioners. 

With panel discussions, parallel sessions, plenaries and some free time, there should be ample opportunities for delegates to meet and network informally, discuss matters of mutual interest, share examples of their work, participate in meetings of specific or regional interest and to visit local educational institutions and places of interest. 


The electronic conferences will be open to registered participants and others unable to attend the Forum.  On-line, “virtual” conferences were a great success at the inaugural forum and are again being organised to help the conference planners and delegates prepare for the Forum. This will also provide non-participants with a window into the world of open learning. The virtual conference will be conducted via the dedicated Forum website and will take place in the first half of 2002.Further information will be available on the home page ( and will also be announced in COL’s newsletter, Connections


The Commonwealth of Learning honours and fosters excellence in open and distance learning through recognition of outstanding achievements. The established Commonwealth-wide Excellence in Distance Education Awards (EDEA) will again present awards in the following four categories: 

    • COL Honours: recognising institutional achievements
    • COL President’s Awards: recognising excellent distance education materials
    • Honorary Fellows of COL: recognising individual achievements
    • COL Learning Experience Award: recognising learners’ experiences 
The Awards ceremony will be held in August 2002, during the Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open learning.The deadline for entries is 31 January 2002.Further information, including the call for submissions and nominations, is available from COL.  Web site:




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Updated on 29 July 2002 by Cathy Zandee