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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This Monitoring & Evaluation Update Report for the Virtual University for the Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) is intended as a companion document to the VUSSC Interim Evaluation Report (June 2008). This report provides an updated summary of VUSSC activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts, organized by country. It also includes some background information on context for each country: population size, languages, and Internet usage. As well, illustrative quotes from interviews conducted at the July 2008 VUSSC Interlocutors Meeting are presented, indicating the range of outcomes and impacts achieved and potential strategies for the future of VUSSC. Finally, the report concludes with an additional set of recommendations.

VUSSC Background and Context

The Virtual University for the Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) is a growing network committed to the collaborative development of free content resources for education. Specifically, VUSSC countries1 have chosen to focus on the development of postsecondary, skills-related courses in areas such as tourism, entrepreneurship, use of information and communications technologies (ICTs), life skills, disaster management and fisheries. The VUSSC course materials are non-proprietary and readily adaptable to the specific context of each country. They can be used in the offering of credit-bearing qualifications as well as strengthening educational capacity and access in member countries.

It is important to emphasize that the VUSSC is not a tertiary institution. Rather, it is a collective mechanism for developing, adapting, and sharing courses and learning materials. It is also a forum for institutions to build capacity and expertise in online collaboration, eLearning and ICTs generally.

VUSSC was first conceived by Commonwealth Education Ministers when they met in Halifax, Canada in December 2000. The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is facilitating the VUSSC initiative, with funding support from the Government of Singapore, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC).

There are currently 30 countries participating in VUSSC, through interlocuter planning meetings, training and course development workshops, and an international gathering of senior officials for the development of a Transnational Qualifications Framework (TQF).

  • 1.

    Antigua & Ba

  • 2.

    The Bahamas

  • 3.

    Barbados

  • 4.

    Belize

  • 5.

    Botswana

  • 6.

    Cyprus

  • 7.

    Dominica

  • 8.

    The Gambia

  • 9.

    Grenada

  • 10.

    Guyana

rbuda

  • 11.

    Kiribati

  • 12.

    Jamaica

  • 13.

    Lesotho

  • 14.

    Maldives

  • 15.

    Malta

  • 16.

    Mauritius

  • 17.

    Namibia

  • 18.

    Papua New Guinea

  • 19.

    Samoa

  • 20.

    Sierra Leone

  • 21.

    Seychelles

  • 22.

    Solomon Islands

  • 23.

    St Kitts & Nevis

  • 24.

    St Lucia

  • 25.

    St Vincent & the Grenadines

  • 26.

    Swaziland

  • 27.

    Tonga

  • 28.

    Trinidad and Tobago

  • 29.

    Tuvalu

  • 30.

    Vanuatu

1 A “small state” is usually defined as having a population of fewer than 1.5 million. Of the 52 Commonwealth countries, 32 are small states.

VUSSC M&E Update, September 2008, prepared by C. Dunlop, SFU

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