Pan-Commonwealth Forum

9-12 September 2019

Edinburgh, Scotland

Latest News

May 2019:  Exhibition stand bookings are now open!

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Exhibition stand options. Please click here for the exhibitor pack, and click here to download your booking form.

May 2019:  Wondering what's in store for PCF9?

Participate in the PCF9 Online Forum from 17 June to 12 July 2019.

March 2019:

Canadian High Commission, London hosts reception
launching 9th Pan-Commonwealth Forum

The Canadian High Commission in London held a reception at Canada House on 12 March 2019 to launch the upcoming ninth Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF9), jointly organised by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and The Open University (OU).

Guests included the Commonwealth Secretary-General, senior government officials, representatives from the higher education and international development communities, and business leaders.

Welcoming remarks were made by the host Ms Sarah Fountain Smith, Deputy High Commissioner, and by COL President and CEO Professor Asha Kanwar, and the OU Chancellor Martha Lane Fox.

For a first-hand look at the reception, watch some of the interview highlights below:

From left to right, COL President and CEO Professor Asha Kanwar, Chancellor of The Open University Baroness Lane-Fox, Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland and Deputy High Commissioner of Canada Ms Sarah Fountain Smith

Welcome to the ninth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF9) to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland at the historic BT Murrayfield Stadium from 9 – 12 September 2019.  In keeping with tradition, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has partnered with The Open University to co-host the Forum and celebrate the 30 and 50 years of our respective commitment to quality education and lifelong learning.

Our combined experience and capabilities must focus not on our past, but critically on the future of education and learning.  Already the ambitious plan of action agreed in September 2015 to transform the world for people, planet and prosperity underpinned by the 17 sustainable development goals, is many years behind target.  We know that millions of young people are missing out on a quality education to give them a fair start in life and that many millions more lack the opportunities they need to develop skills throughout their lives to respond to the rapidly changing needs of work and our societies.  We believe that open education has a much greater role to play in meeting this challenge and that is why we have chosen to focus this Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning on the theme of innovations for quality education and lifelong learning.

We will need to approach this challenge with a mind-set that bridges the traditional divide between borders, sectors, academia and industry. PCF9 welcomes participation from friends old and new from the open education and Commonwealth communities and beyond.  Now is the time to deepen our partnerships to ensure that we can provide employability skills to young people, a quality education to all regardless of circumstances, and to find practical ways for technology to speed up our progress.  We look forward to welcoming you to PCF9 and to working together to address this challenge.

Professor Asha Kanwar

President & CEO

Commonwealth of Learning



Professor Mary Kellett


The Open University



  • Innovations for Quality Education
    and Lifelong Learning

    We aim to discuss, debate and showcase how innovations are improving the quality of education and creating new spaces for lifelong learning.  The forum will cover four main themes:

  • Employability

    Increasing the employable skills of learners to prepare them for the work life in the 21st Century.

    Click to explore this year's themes in more detail.

  • Equity and Inclusion

    Innovative programmes and structures for improving equity and inclusiveness in education, considering quality assurance frameworks, accreditations, certification, benchmarking and rankings for equity and inclusion.

    Click to explore this year's themes in more detail.

  • Opening up Education

    Exploring ways of improving access for example eLearning, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), public-private partnerships, considering use of Open Educational Resources, and Open Educational Practices.

    Click to explore this year's themes in more detail.

  • Technology

    Focusing on technological innovations for delivering and managing large as well as small flexible learning opportunities that are based on principles of quality and create new ways to promote lifelong learning.

    Click to explore this year's themes in more detail.

  • Special Focus: Education for Girls

    PCF9 will have a special focus on Women and Girls giving increased opportunity for their participation, and focus on research and presentation related to innovation in offering programmes leading to skills and employability of girls to improve their livelihoods.

    Click to explore this year's themes in more detail.

  • Special Focus: Empowering Youth

    PCF9 will have a special focus on youth to increase their participation as well as research and presentations that will have impact on the future of empowering youth.

    Click to explore this year's themes in more detail.

Important Dates





June 30, 2019

June 17 - July 12, 2019

July 15, 2019

July 30, 2019

Abstract Submission

COL 2017-19 Excellence in Distance Education Awards Submission

Travel Sponsorship Application

Notification of Abstract Acceptance

Deadline for Full Paper Submission

PCF9 Online Forum

Travel Sponsorship Applicants notified

Notification of Full Paper Acceptance

COL convened its first Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF) in Brunei Darussalam in 1999. Since then, PCFs have been organised in South Africa, New Zealand, Jamaica, United Kingdom, India, Nigeria and Malaysia.  PCF9 will be held at BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland from 9-12 September 2019 in partnership with The Open University, United Kingdom.

Innovations for Quality
Education and Lifelong Learning


Forum Partners