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Major international education conference to begin

The Ninth Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF9), a major international conference on inclusive and open education, will kick off at BT Murrayfield, in Edinburgh, on Monday.

Jointly hosted by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and The Open University (OU), PCF9 will attract around 600 delegates from all over the world.

The conference will share learning and develop actions focused on UN sustainable development goal 4, to ensure inclusive education and to promote lifelong learning for all. Speakers will include Danny Faure, President of the Seychelles; Sarah Brown, Chair of Theirworld and Executive Chair, of the Global Business Coalition for Education; and Lord Puttnam of Queensgate, film producer, educator and environmentalist.

With a focus on girls and young people, the conference themes will be employability, equity and inclusion, technology, and opening education across the Commonwealth.

Lord Puttnam CBE said: “The Pan-Commonwealth Forum provides an enormous opportunity to discuss and debate the future of education and learning.

“It is my pleasure to deliver the hallmark Asa Briggs lecture at this year’s PCF9 and to contribute to what is sure to be a lively and engaging forum programme.”

Susan Stewart, Director of the OU in Scotland, said: “For fifty years the OU has led the way in open education and we know it has a huge role to play in making sure that learning is accessible to everyone. We all have a responsibility to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and it’s heartening to see educators from across the Commonwealth come together like this.

“The OU already contributes with projects in Africa and Asia – including ZEST, our Scottish Government-funded teacher development programme in Zambia – but we want to do more to support inclusive education around the world. It’s a pleasure to be able to host so many like-minded colleagues and partners here in Edinburgh.”

Professor Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of COL, said: “The historic city of Edinburgh has a rich tradition of learning and The Open University is a formidable leader in open and distance education. I can think of no better place and no better co-host for PCF9.

“This forum attracts diverse perspectives from more than 60 countries around the world and we expect many innovative approaches and creative ideas to emerge out of this wealth of different experiences.”

The Pan-Commonwealth Forum takes place takes place in the OU’s 50th anniversary year and will run from 9-12 September.

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