The October 2009 edition of Connections, the newsletter of the Commonwealth of Learning, included the following news report:
‘The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) has launched its own website (www.vussc.org). The site is a gateway to information about VUSSC activities and resources, including online courses in subjects such as disaster management, entrepreneurship, life skills and tourism. Developed for VUSSC by VUSSC partners, the courses are freely available to anyone for download, adaptation and use.
A Management Committee is now directing VUSSC’s activities, supported by COL’s Education Specialist for VUSSC, Mr. John Lesperance. The Committee includes representatives from small states in all regions of the Commonwealth:
• Dr. Emma Kruse Vaai, National University of Samoa (Asia/Pacific), Chairperson
• Mr. Ricaud Auckbur, Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Mauritius (Africa, Mediterranean)
• Dr. Leon Higgs, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, The Bahamas (Caribbean)
• Dr. Mamolete Mohapi, National University of Lesotho (Africa, Mediterranean)
• Ms. Karen Rosemin, Ministry of Science, Technology & Tertiary Education, Trinidad & Tobago (Caribbean)
• Dr. Ali Fawaz Shareef, Centre for Open Learning, Maldives (Asia/Pacific)
• Mr. Kaylash Allgoo, Mauritius Qualifications Authority, (ex-officio as Chairperson of the VUSSC Transnational Qualifications Framework Committee)
At its first meeting in Vancouver in August, the Management Committee agreed on its terms of reference, finalised a funding proposal, and prepared a budget and plan of action.
The Management Committee also approved the implementation plan for the Transnational Qualifications Framework (TQF). The TQF is an important step forward in establishing credibility for VUSSC as it provides a widely recognised system of accreditation for VUSSC courses and facilitates the movement of courses and learners between states. Ministers of Education in all 32 VUSSC member states will be asked to formally endorse the TQF implementation plan.
One of the key themes that arose in the VUSSC Management Committee meeting was the need to continue building capacity in online materials development among educators in small states of the Commonwealth. VUSSC will continue to hold intensive training workshops or “boot camps”. The next one, scheduled for late 2009 in Samoa, will focus on creating learning materials related to the maritime industry.
VUSSC is a network initiated by, and built on the support of, Ministers of Education of developing small states of the Commonwealth. It is committed to the collaborative development of open content resources for education, training and capacity building and the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to broaden access to education.