Delegates discuss open schooling and its successes


Mrs Delcy (at podium) addressing the workshop delegates yesterday

The official opening ceremony of the meeting and a series of workshops on open schooling related issues was held yesterday at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay Resort & Casino.

Present at the gathering were the Minister for Education, Employment and Human Resources Macsuzy Mondon, principal secretary Merida Delcy, president of Comosa Dr Sitansu Jena, education specialist for open schooling for Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Frances Ferreira.

Others attending the ceremony were vice-chairperson of Comosa Fancy Amey, COL focal point Marie-Reine Confait, head of UniSey’s School of Education, Alex Souffe, and members of Comosa.

Addressing those present, Mrs Delcy thanked all national educators who have been actively involved in the open schooling project.

COL, in collaboration with William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, brought new technologies and collaborative tools to teachers in six developing countries.

These Comosa members with the support of the COL have developed 18 print courses and nine online courses.

“I hope that this achievement will urge more countries to join the project and continue to develop such courses,” she said.

The COL Open Schooling initiative will launch the Open Educational Resources (OER) for open schools on Friday.

The organisation also plans to collaborate to develop further online courses, beginning with technical and vocational courses in 2012.

During the week, the delegates will also discuss an OER policy for Commonwealth countries.
 OER resources are materials offered freely ad openly for people and institutions to use and adapt for teaching and learning, and research.

Development and re-use of OER in the last 10 years has shown their potential benefits in expanding and improving education training and learning.

The OER launch on March 2 will also coincide with the opening of the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) for a two-week workshop on the development of a degree course in environmental science.

From February 27-28, Comosa members will report on achievements in open schooling in their countries.

They will also take part in a workshop which will enable them to understand organisational e-learning capacity, the e-learning Maturity Model (eMM) tool, eMM assessment and to make an informed decision about taking part in an eMM pilot.

At the end of the ceremony, Dr Jena presented a small token to Mrs Mondon, Mrs Delcy and Dr Hoareau.

Also addressing those present were Mr Souffe who welcomed the delegates, Dr Jena who gave an overview of Comosa, Mrs Ferreira and Mrs Amey.

In an interview Mr Souffe said one of the aims for Seychelles to take part in the project is to help in instances where there is a lack of teachers.

Open schooling is seen as a solution to the lack of teachers in developing countries and is defined by two aspects.

First, the physical separation of the school-level learner from the teacher, and secondly the use of alternative information and communication technologies to bridge the separation and provide education and training.

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