About the International Partnership

The unprecedented developments due to COVID-19 have led to the closure of educational institutions around the world. UNESCO estimates that over 90% of the world’s student population is unable to attend classes and is required to stay at home. Particularly vulnerable are those learners in developing countries who may not have access to electricity, devices or connectivity to follow online lessons which are being provided in many developed countries and urban contexts. The open and distance learning community has been catering to these constituencies for decades and has the expertise, experience and resources to play a positive role in this crisis. It is time for this community to come together as one and further demonstrate a collective commitment to delivering the appropriate solutions to address issues of access, quality, costs and equity so that no one is left behind.

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) believes that collaboration and sharing are the only way to help tide over the adverse impact of the economic, social and health challenges faced today. COL extends an invitation to open and distance learning (ODL) institutions/organisations to join this effort. These include: open/ virtual/ eUniversities, dual mode institutions, open schools/ polytechnics, national, regional and international ODL associations, foundations and non-profit providers, technology providers, and intergovernmental organisations supporting technology in education.

This partnership approach is based on shared values and a win-win framework for all. Values include mutual respect, equity and inclusion as well as a commitment to respond to the needs of stakeholders. Access to pooled resources, shared expertise, and online training through a common gateway, is the strategy for creating a win-win situation for all.