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Open learning can transform society: Prof Kanwar

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, Dec 16 - Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University (KKHSOU), the 14th open university in India, today held its first international conference on the theme �Developmental Intervention and Open Learning for Transforming and Empowering Society�.

The inaugural function was chaired by Dr Hitesh Deka, Vice Chancellor, KKHSOU.

In her keynote address, Prof Asha Singh Kanwar, president and CEO of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Vancouver, Canada, said that with India poised to go up to the next level of development, challenges are emerging and that along with developmental interventions, open learning also holds the key to transforming and empowering society.

�If today the student cannot reach the institution, the institution is reaching the student in remote rural locations and helping them to transform their communities�Our mission is to help Commonwealth member states and institutions to use open and distance learning and technologies for expanding access to quality education and training,� she added.

Asserting that COL believes learning is the key to sustainable development, Prof Kanwar said learning must lead to economic growth, social inclusion and environmental conservation. At the same time, she said, environmental sustainability is also a central concern for all.

Drawing a comparison between India and other Asian countries like the Philippines and Thailand, she said there is a wider disparity in educational attainment among the poorest and the richest 18-year-olds in India rather than their peers in Thailand (WEF, 2015). Social disparities seem to be higher in India than among other Asian counterparts.

Prof Kanwar said while open learning generally refers to correspondence courses, open and distance learning or to open universities, opening up education also means the democratisation of education for those hitherto kept outside its purview.

Prof Tsuneo Yamada from Open University Japan; Dang Hai Dang from Hanoi Open University, Vietnam; Prof M A Mannan, Vice Chancellor, Bangladesh Open University and Prof SA Ariadurai, Vice Chancellor of Sri Lanka Open University were the international guests at the conference. Besides, it was attended by a number of VCs of open universities across India, Prof VS Prasad, former Director, NAAC, professors from STRIDE, IGNOU, distinguished delegates deputed by CEMCA, COL, in addition to the registered participants from the State as well as from other parts of India and abroad.

A host of educationists and dignitaries in the field of open learning also attended the meet.

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Open learning can transform society: Prof Kanwar

GUWAHATI, Dec 16 - Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University (KKHSOU), the 14th open university in India, today held its first international conference on the theme �Developmental Intervention and Open Learning for Transforming and Empowering Society�.

The inaugural function was chaired by Dr Hitesh Deka, Vice Chancellor, KKHSOU.

In her keynote address, Prof Asha Singh Kanwar, president and CEO of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Vancouver, Canada, said that with India poised to go up to the next level of development, challenges are emerging and that along with developmental interventions, open learning also holds the key to transforming and empowering society.

�If today the student cannot reach the institution, the institution is reaching the student in remote rural locations and helping them to transform their communities�Our mission is to help Commonwealth member states and institutions to use open and distance learning and technologies for expanding access to quality education and training,� she added.

Asserting that COL believes learning is the key to sustainable development, Prof Kanwar said learning must lead to economic growth, social inclusion and environmental conservation. At the same time, she said, environmental sustainability is also a central concern for all.

Drawing a comparison between India and other Asian countries like the Philippines and Thailand, she said there is a wider disparity in educational attainment among the poorest and the richest 18-year-olds in India rather than their peers in Thailand (WEF, 2015). Social disparities seem to be higher in India than among other Asian counterparts.

Prof Kanwar said while open learning generally refers to correspondence courses, open and distance learning or to open universities, opening up education also means the democratisation of education for those hitherto kept outside its purview.

Prof Tsuneo Yamada from Open University Japan; Dang Hai Dang from Hanoi Open University, Vietnam; Prof M A Mannan, Vice Chancellor, Bangladesh Open University and Prof SA Ariadurai, Vice Chancellor of Sri Lanka Open University were the international guests at the conference. Besides, it was attended by a number of VCs of open universities across India, Prof VS Prasad, former Director, NAAC, professors from STRIDE, IGNOU, distinguished delegates deputed by CEMCA, COL, in addition to the registered participants from the State as well as from other parts of India and abroad.

A host of educationists and dignitaries in the field of open learning also attended the meet.