Wednesday 4th October, 2006


Simpson-Miller to deliver feature address at PCF4

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Portia Simpson-Miller


Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller, is scheduled to deliver the feature address at the fourth Pan Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4).

The forum, which will bring together stakeholders from government and educational institutions throughout the world, is carded to be held at the Sunset Jamaica Grande hotel from October 30 to November 2.

The event, which is being organised by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) in association with a Caribbean consortium, led by the UWI Distance Education Centre, was launched during a video conference facilitated by UWI’s Distance Learning Centre in Trinidad.

Speaking via telephone, Sir John Daniel, ceo and president of (COL) said the existing methods being used for distance learning are not up to the challenge. He said there is a greater demand for distance education from persons around the globe.

The Vancouver-based COL began full operations in 1989. It is an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies.

Stewart Marshall, co-chair PCF4 and director UWIDEC, said one of the objectives of the forum is to get the message to colleges who do not share the vision of distance learning.

“To share best practice on how people can learn where ever they are and when ever they want,” he said.

“To persuade people that this is the way forward.”

Jamaica’s assistant chief education officer, Philbert Dhyll, said his country was pleased to host the event which will be held in the Caribbean for the first time.

“This is especially so knowing that distance education is the focus of the conference,” he said.

His message to the participants was: “We are prepared to learn from you and are ready to show you what we are doing here in Jamaica.”

Through discussion and panel presentations, participants will share ideas and help to set the agenda for using open and distance learning to advance international development through widening educational access, bridging the digital divide and applying advances in connecting technology to teaching and learning for development of communities and nations at large, but especially in the less developed countries of the commonwealth.

Approximately 486 persons from 58 countries have already registered for the forum, with 100 of them coming from the Caribbean.








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