Envisioning Equity in Global Development Agenda

Ms. Sheena Joseph in conversation with Prof. P R Ramanujam

The Pan Commonwealth Forum (PCF) brings together more than 70 countries and about 1000 participants to address the key issues relating to access and equity in education through application of open and distance learning.

This article addresses the key facts of the 6th PCF event (PCF6) and its significance for IGNOU.

“PFC6 envisioned an immediate possibility of combining the experiences of the developed and the developing worlds in providing equal opportunities with the global agenda of development implying equitable distribution of benefits through innovative open distance learning methods and programs.”

“To give an opportunity for practitioners, researchers, planners and policy makers in the field of open education and development to share their experiences in shaping the future policies of open learning with a view to achieving Millennium Development Goals by 2015 as committed by the UN.”

Significance of the four themes in current global scenario:
According to Prof. Ramanujam, Social justice should only answer the highly complex and contradictory picture of tremendous prosperity vs. extreme poverty. Democratizing education and skill set development would empower people leading to community development.

Empowerment, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity are the four themes which go hand in hand with mutual respect, dignity and social justice for every person.

Key Functions of PCF Committees:
Prof. Ramanujam believes that expertise and guidance provided by several international committee members on strategic planning and implementation of the events are keys to success of PCF ever year. The diversified local committees play a significant role in integrating, evaluating, selecting abstracts & papers and reviewing the conference progress. Moreover, they provided expert advice to the PCF6 secretariat on performing complex tasks on a daily basis. Their combined effort helped carry forward the simultaneous pre conference events and the grand finale in Cochin.

Significance of PCF6 for IGNOU:
IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) and COL (Common Wealth of Learning, Canada) jointly organized PCF6. This event coincided with the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of IGNOU that concludes on November 19, 2010. Several pre‐conference workshops were conducted by Commonwealth of Learning, IGNOU and many other institutions which commenced on November 18, 2010.

According to Prof. P R Ramanujam:

India as an emerging power should significantly focus of education. PCF6 will gain more importance in the wake of three major bills to be passed by the Indian Parliament on The National Council for Education and Research, Educational Tribunal Bill, and the Foreign Universities Bill.

In today’s world, PCF6 can offer considerable insights on reforming the educational agenda at all levels after passing the Right to Education Act.