World Radio Day 2019


UNESCO’s General Conference, at its 36th session, proclaimed World Radio Day on 13 February.

UNESCO’s Executive Board recommended to the General Conference the proclamation of World Radio Day, on the basis of a feasibility study undertaken by UNESCO, further to a proposal from Spain.

Radio is the mass media reaching the widest audience in the world. It is also recognized as a powerful communication tool and a low-cost medium. Radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the disabled, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in the public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level. Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.

There is also a changing face to radio services which, in the present times of media convergence, are taking up new technological forms, such as broadband, mobiles and tablets. However, it is said that up to a billion people still do not have access to radio today.

Read more.

The GEM Report’s other new year’s resolutions in response to the consultation on the 2020 Report on inclusion — World Education Blog



A new year, and an adjusted plan, this time thanks to the feedback provided during the consultation for the 2020 GEM Report on education and inclusion carried out during the second half of last year. No sooner has one GEM Report been printed than the next is being prepared… The consultation for the 2020 GEM Report […]

via The GEM Report’s other new year’s resolutions in response to the consultation on the 2020 Report on inclusion — World Education Blog

New Issues for OERs — Half an Hour – Stephen Downes



This is based on my contribution to the new Creative Commons ‘Education Platform’ discussion of issues related to open educational resources (OERs). This is the next step following the development of a set of… 2,147 more words

via New Issues for OERs — Half an Hour

The GEM Report’s new year’s resolutions outlined in response to the results of a new external evaluation — World Education Blog



A new year, and a new plan, this time thanks to the recommendations outlined in the results of the external evaluation of the GEM Report carried out over the course of last year. Every 3-4 years, the GEM Report commissions external evaluations to review the quality of its products, the success of its outreach and […]

via The GEM Report’s new year’s resolutions outlined in response to the results of a new external evaluation — World Education Blog

India has some of the largest internal migration movements in the world – how has its education adapted? — World Education Blog


People move around India all the time. Around 9 million moving to live in another state every year while the rates of those migrating within their state also doubled over just ten years. A lot has been done to adapt the education system in India to these movements, our latest 2019 GEM Report shows, but […]

via India has some of the largest internal migration movements in the world – how has its education adapted? — World Education Blog

What can teachers do to make return migration easier for children? — World Education Blog


By Joanna Grzymała-Moszczyńska, Joanna Durlik, Paulina Szydłowska, Halina Grzymała-Moszczyńska, Jagiellonian University Debates on education and migration mostly focus on children arriving in a new country. However, there is much more to consider. Much happens and more could be done to support those who move back to their parents’ country of origin. The number of children born […]

via What can teachers do to make return migration easier for children? — World Education Blog

Happy New Year 2019

Image credi Pixabay. CC0 Creative Commons

Happy New Year from COMOSA!

Reflection on Creative Commons and OER: Namibia


My first introduction to the use of Creative Commons (CC) licenses and the development of Open Educational Resources (OER) was with the involvement of the Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL) and Commonwealth of Learning’s OER4Os Project in 2009. As a programme developer, responsible for the development of distance learning material for Secondary Education, I realised the benefits of using the CC-licensed work in my course development and have enrolled myself in several free short online courses to learn more about the CC license tools.

I enrolled in the CC Certificate course for professional growth and development. I’ve gained new knowledge through this course, especially on the use of CC licenses which I will incorporate in the training provided to our subject matter experts/teachers responsible for the development of the OER. I am the Programme Developer at NAMCOL, responsible for coordinating the development of online OER on the Notesmaster Namibia platform. The core vision of the/my institution is to:

  • create a National repository of locally authored open educational resources freely accessible by all secondary school learners and teachers.
  • empower subject matter experts/teachers not only to use the materials in their classroom teaching but also to create and share their own digital content into subject hubs.
  • to ‘provide teachers and learners with an open space where they can share resources, interact and collaborate to enhance their teaching and learning.

Creating a national repository of locally authored high-quality content that is relevant and freely accessible to all Namibian teachers and learners is in line with the CC values of sharing and increasing access to quality education. The value of open access is further supported by the fact that the institution share OER on the Notesmaster platform which is open and free for anyone to join at zero cost. All you need to register is a valid email address and internet connectivity. Although we are promoting the availability of the interactive online OER to learners and teachers from both NAMCOL and the formal schools, we find that these resources are underutilized. At the same time, we received several requests from schools and educators to also offer the content offline which will increase the open access even more. I guess this raised a question of “how open the OER is for teacher and learners?”

The Notesmaster platform enables subject matter experts to collaborate in the development of learning resources, to share these resources amongst themselves and with the learners in a common online space which really simplify the whole process of interaction, sharing and learning. By default, all the Notesmaster OER will carry the CC-BY SA copyright license and can, therefore, be used, adapted and shared by teachers and learners.

There are several important factors to consider before content is published as legally sound Creative Commons licensed OER. These considerations include:

  • the way in which we have used and combined the different CC-licensed works to create a note – not all the CC-licensed works used are compatible with the CC BY SA license.
  • the use of copyrighted material available on the web. For example, while fair use exemptions may allow the use of images, videos, full webpage content found online through a Google search the misconception is that everything that can be accessed for free on the web, are OERs or suitable to be included in the development of OERs.
  • correctly attributing the original author/creator of the work that went into the derivative work is a requirement for all CC licenses.
  • the CC license notification for each of the resources created.

Following my successful completion of the CC Certificate course, I will continue to use my knowledge and experience to train/guide course developers at my institution and beyond. This includes how to use existing OERs to develop study material and also how to create new OERs. I have facilitated several training interventions on OERs and the use of Creative Commons licenses for my colleagues at NAMCOL. The training interventions include advocating the use of open source software to create multimedia resources, which will make it easy for others to use, remix and redistribute. My training interventions stretch beyond my own institution: staff involved in course material development for distance education from the Ministry of Education and form the two universities here in Windhoek, Namibia.

Throughout my previous training interventions, I noticed that participants had gaps in their knowledge of the use of CC licenses. This further motivated me to do this course to ensure that I gain the required knowledge to assist staff to gain a better understanding.

NAMCOL currently publishes print-based study guides under, ‘All rights reserved’ copyright and the online OER under CC BY SA license. The College is the only educational institution in Namibia that has an approved OER Policy to guide the development of its Open Educational Resources.

This article was originally contributed by Wilhelmina Louw, Programme Developer at NAMCOL.

Dr.K.Balasubramanian, Vice-President, Commonwealth of Learning visits NIOS


Dr. Bala shared experiences and deliberated with Academic and Vocational staff of the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

He explored the Media initiatives of NIOS and also conversed on the upcoming Gender Green Teacher Programme.

The proposed Gender-Green Teacher Programme would consist of ICT enabled, in-service professional development for secondary level teachers, in the areas of environment and gender, complemented by a strong ICT enabled network/community of practice of teacher practitioners.

The project would include modules on gender and environment with a common focus on how these themes can be mainstreamed and integrated into teaching and learning. The overall objective would be to increase knowledge, change attitudes and improve responsible practices/behaviors in regards to both the environment and gender, at both the level of the teacher and the learner.

Please see photos from the event below. Photo credit NIOS.

This article was originally contributed by Chapter Chair for Asia, Anshul Kharbanda.

Langson Chilupula: A Product of Vocational Education and Open Learning


This story presents some of the milestones in the life of Langson Chilupula, a product of open learning and Vocation Education.

Langson states, “I am one of the few whose lives stand tall among the population of Zambia and an example of what one can be accomplished despite the many hurdles in life.”

Born to Ben Chilupula and Elina Sichaba, the 42-year old Langson is the last born in the family of six (6) and was born in Chisakira village of Lusaka province in a small border town of Chirundu in the south-east part of Zambia.

Langson explains, “My Father died in 1976 when I was only a month old, and as a result, I was brought up by a single mother who despite having no formal education background, managed within her means to raise us up with my other six siblings.

After a few years, my mother and my siblings relocated to the western part of Kafue District from Chisakira to Chikupi Village. Chikupi Village is situated on the western part of Kafue town which is approximately 25 km from Kafue Town, a hub of activities in Kafue District.

In 1983, I was lucky to have started my primary education as grade one at the age of 7 at a nearby Primary School called Chikupi in the rural district of Kafue, Lusaka province. There was no secondary school to provide secondary education in the area at that time except for only one which was the biggest and what seemed to us as a prestigious secondary school in the district called the Mighty Naboye Secondary school. Eight years later, in 1990, I qualified to go to grade 8 at Naboye Secondary school which was 25 km away from the then my home village Chikupi. This meant that I had to cover 50 km a day on foot to and from Naboye secondary school and on an empty stomach in order for me to access secondary education. This was due to the fact that my mother and I were unable to secure accommodation in the vicinities of the Kafue town due to the high cost of rentals. Furthermore, Naboye Secondary School was only a day school and could not offer boarding facilities.”

Langson explain, “Due to the struggles and challenges of covering long distances to and from my home village to Naboye Secondary school, as well as the high cost of living at home, my uncle, the young brother to my mother decided to come to my aid by requesting for a transfer for me to relocate from Naboye Secondary School to Matero Boys Secondary School in Lusaka. Two years down the line that is in 1992, I sat my Junior Secondary School final examination and later on qualified to grade ten (10) for my senior secondary school. As fate would have it, in the same year in 1992, my Uncle decided to send me back to the village stating that I had become a liability to him at the expense of the well-being of his biological children. My pleading that I get a school transfer back to Naboye Secondary School fell on deaf ears as his concentration at that time were his biological children and so he had no time to continue looking into my plight in terms of education. With no option at hand, I had to get back to my mother whom I had left in the village with my siblings. It was at this point where real life’s challenges were experienced as I got involved in many means of acquiring something that could put food on the table to supplement the effort of my mother who had a huge responsibility of looking after all of us with my siblings.

In 1993, I approached Father Antonio, a Roman Catholic priest from Italy who was then based at Holy Savior Parish in Kafue town. The parish was equally approximately 25 km away from our Chikupi Village and sometimes we used to have combined masses because my family and I were Catholic and that is how I came to know him. Father Antonio assisted me with a K400 local currency which is equivalent to $33, with a condition that I pay it back to after multiplying it in a small business that I thought would I embark on.

From the money I borrowed from Father Antonio, I started selling roll buns (small pieces of baked yeast dough) and managed to raise k20,000 local currency which is equivalent $1666 from which I paid the $33, K400 local currency which I got from Father Antonio. This meant that I had to stay for a year without going back to secondary school.

In 1994, I applied to study for vocational skills at St. Ambrose Trade School in Kafue town of which I was enrolled in carpentry and joinery the following year. I graduated in 1997 with the best student award from the then known eloquent Republican President Dr. Frederick Chiluba, Zambia’s Second Republican President. Thereafter I started doing some pieces of work in carpentry and joinery and managed again to raise some money which made me enroll for evening classes in 2002 at Naboye Secondary School to have me complete my secondary education, having failed in the first place because of circumstances explained earlier on. In this very year, I enrolled to sit for general School certificate in three subjects and that is Mathematics, Commerce, and Woodwork which I passed very well. In 2004, I again enrolled at the same school in the evening classes in three subjects that is Religious education, Biology, and English which I successfully passed and attained the 5 O Levels. This was a complete turning point in my life as my dream of having completed my secondary education became a reality.

Towards the end of 2005, I decided to apply for studies as a teacher of Design and Technology at Technical Vocation Teachers’ Training College (TVTC) in Luanshya on the Copperbelt Province in the Northern part of Zambia and in 2006 I was admitted to this institution of Higher Learning and that marked the beginning of my journey to tertiary education.

The fact that I got married in the year 2000 and went to college leaving behind a wife and a set of twins as well as my mother and other dependents culminated into a compounded tough life at college. On the other side, I struggled to fit in well in a class of colleagues who had sat in a regular class for three years and ultimately covered the syllabi for senior secondary. There were several topics that I did not adequately cover and understood due to the short period of evening lessons. Admittedly, this almost made me give up! However, I persevered and instead bought some study materials especially for mathematics and science and engaged some of my classmates at their own convenient time to help me grasp the concept that I could have missed out during my studies. In reality, it meant I was studying two parallel ‘programmes’: one being that of studying as Teacher while the other being that of covering the topics, I missed at Grade 10 to 12 especially in Mathematics and Science with help of classmates.”

Langson goes on to explain more about his family and balancing his studies, “I am married to Christine Phiri Chilupula, a University of Zambia graduate Teacher, and in our 18 years old marriage God has blessed us with three children; a 17 years old set of twins (Petronella Tweenga Chilupula and Precious Tweense Chilupula) as well as an 8 years old boy (Twalumbu Chishiko Chilupula). The girls are in Grade Eleven while the boy is in Grade One.

At the end of the course, I graduated as a Teacher with a merit in Design and Technology in the year 2009 and walked out with the most outstanding student award.

I wish to mention that while at TVTC, I was elected President of the Students’ Union, and at that time a lot of projects were hatched.  There was also a great improvement in the peace and communication channel of the institution. In addition to being awarded the Best Student award, I was also awarded the College Principal’s award for diligence service to the institution.

Upon my 2009 graduation, I was picked by Centro Orientameto Educativo (C.O.E) to spearhead a project funded by European Union as a field coordinator with the complex task of identifying areas where the organization could build community vocation colleges with a specific view of giving survival skills to the youth especially those that had lost hope of continuing with their formal education. I was proficient in organizing meetings with Village Headmen and Headwomen as well as parents in different rural parts of Kafue. Furthermore, I used to organize meetings with youths themselves as they were a reason for the project. As a team, we came up with a slogan ‘to build’ a cadre of youths full of hope, confidence which made them understand that their future is brighter, if only they persevered and worked a little bit harder.

After working at C.O.E as a Field Coordinator for three months, I was sent to Rome, Italy for presentations of projects that were taking place in Zambia. I was also privileged to be one of the delegates that were chosen to make submissions to the G8 Countries that met in Milano, Italy, in 2009 over the unfair treatment of the illegal immigrants coming from different parts of Africa.

I am a happy and proud person today to witness that most of the youths C.O.E mentored from that programme are running their own entrepreneurial activities such as building and plastering, welding, carpentry and joinery, tailoring and agriculture.

While with C.O.E, I also attended lessons at Thornpark Construction Training Centre, and I was successfully awarded certificates of competence in many fields such as setting out a building using dumpy level, tiling and paving and building in-door and window frames. Consequently, this enabled me to establish my own company dealing in various construction jobs and offers employment to a number of youths.

In 2010, after completing the C.O.E project, I then joined the Ministry of Education as a teacher and my first posting was Tubalange Basic School (then under Kafue district). I worked at Tubalange Basic School for only three months thereafter I was transferred to my former junior secondary school- Naboye Secondary, where I worked for five years.

In 2013, I was accepted to study at the University of South Africa in the faculty of Development Studies and Economics and successfully completed my studies in 2017, and subsequently graduated in 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa.

As if that is not enough, I’m currently pursuing another undergraduate degree in Design and Technology with Kabwe Institute of Technology under Kwame Nkrumah University. I will be proceeding into my third Year in January 2019.

Upon being deployed as a Teacher in government I have received several awards from the Ministry responsible for education among them; the Minister’s Award as the Most Innovative Teacher in Lusaka, best performing Teacher at Naboye secondary school.

Additionally, I reignited my college trade unionism passion by joining one of the biggest Teacher trade unions in the country, the Professional Teachers Union of Zambia to which I rose through the rank and file of the movement to occupy the powerful chairmanship of the union’s most densely populated Lusaka province, the capital city of Zambia. I, however, resigned from the position in 2016 in my own accord.

I have since 2017 been promoted as Head of Department- Practical Subjects, and subsequently transferred from Naboye Secondary School to a newly build Likasa Boys Boarding Secondary School.

On 5th October 2018 (World Teachers’ Day) I was further awarded as the most hardworking and best-performing teacher by my new school.

Through my rough childhood upbringing, I do not want to forget the struggles I faced in order to be where I am today. I believe that my challenges were just a tip of an iceberg as compared to the challenges faced by many children and young people. For this reason, I have dedicated part of my work to do social and charity works.

As a proud and patriotic citizen, using my construction company, I renovated Kafue District Board Secretaries office that was gutted on fire at no fee at all. The office just provided materials. I also completed a Boarding Master’s (Teacher) house at Likasa boarding school, a school that had no single house for a teacher since it was opened in 2013. The school just provided materials as well. I have helped a good number of youths both financially and materially to go back to school, go to a tertiary institution and more importantly to trade centers.

Besides teaching which is my core business of the day in the Ministry of Education, I am also an assessor for Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training examination. Additionally, I am participating in the writing of Design and Technology books under the new curriculum.

I dream of establishing a social welfare and skills training institute for vulnerable children especially those who dropped out of school, as well as offer financial and material support to pupils in formal schools. 

Education is a basic human right, and every child must have access to education. It is also an equalizer in life.  I believe that all forms of education whether from a formal school, radio, television, internet, school evening classes, skills and adult literacy, the popular ‘Learning at Taonga Market’ or any other type of programme is useful and has potential to bring positive change to one’s life and the rest of Africa.

Today, I am happy and proud to mention that, whatever mode I used to acquire my education, no one is able to identify that I had that rough and tough journey. I thank my Almighty God for the love and grace bestowed upon me, and for giving me the passion, talent, and strength to persevere in both career development and leadership.

I also thank my mother who has today grown old for having encouraged and motivated me when I was down. I pray for her to live long. Undoubtedly, my mother is a reason I respect all women and remain an advocate for women economic empowerment, gender equity, and social protection. For me, women are a perfect symbol of humanity especially single mothers.

I am indeed a product and symbol of the power of perseverance, evening classes, learning from home and skills training. My life guiding quote is that of South Africa’s first post-Apartheid first President, Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most important weapon we can use to change the world”. With the help and guidance from Almighty God, I will forever continue studying in the quest to bring desired development to myself, my family, my community, and ultimately my country Zambia.”

This article was originally contributed by Chapter Chair for Africa, Charity Bwalya.

Isaac Katete’s Story


Isaac Katete is the teacher at the Kabwe Secondary School teaching Computer studies. He has helped to pioneer the growth of ICT and ODL in central Province since 2010. He is also the British Council Digital Ambassador and Microsoft Innovative Educators expert in ICT. He has won two continental awards in 2010 and 2015 under the British Council and Microsoft respectively.

In 2014 he was appointed as Provincial ICT master trainer under the ministry of Education to help the coordination and implementation of ICT in Central province. In 2017 the Directorate of Distance Education appointed Isaac to become the item writer under Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Notesmaster Project Phase I to write the eLearning content for the Notesmaster platform.

Isaac summarised by saying, “As a COL curriculum writer for Notesmaster, I am grateful to have learned amazing skills which have added value to my teaching approaches and the art of questioning techniques. The collaboration and critical thinking aspect are quite amazing indeed.”


This article was originally contributed by Chapter Chair for Africa, Charity Bwalya.

PCF9 to be held in Edinburgh during 9-12 September 2019


The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and The Open University (OU), United Kingdom will co-host COL’s ninth Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF9) at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland during 9 to 12 September 2019. This timing marks both the end of the OU’s 50th-anniversary celebration and COL’s 30th anniversary year.

“I am delighted that PCF9 will be held jointly with The Open University UK, which has been an inspiration to the open and distance learning community around the Commonwealth. The OU has been a pioneer in quality, research excellence and accessible learning. This Forum will promote innovations to strengthen access to quality education and lifelong learning for all. We look forward to welcoming stakeholders from around the world for a rich and productive confluence of professional, intellectual and forward-looking ideas,” said COL President and CEO, Professor Asha Kanwar.

OU’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mary Kellett noted that “The Open University is delighted to co-host this event, bringing together our partner institutions across the Commonwealth. It promises to be an excellent forum for debate, with opportunities to consider issues of great importance to the OU, such as the global and inclusive reach of education. We look forward to welcoming friends and colleagues.”

Held every three years, the PCF is one of the world’s leading international conferences on open, distance and technology-enabled learning. It attracts over 600 delegates from across the 53 nation members of the Commonwealth and beyond. COL will present its Excellence in Distance Education Awards to individuals and institutions that have demonstrated remarkable achievements in the promotion of open learning.

The OU is the UK’s largest academic institution and a world pioneer in distance learning committed to making education open to all.

Click here to view the PCF9 website

Republished from COL

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