Access to quality education essential for opportunity, Seychelles’ president tells forum in Scotland

Supporting young people’s access to quality education is central to ensuring a full and productive life that contributes to sustainable development, the Seychelles’ President Danny Faure said at the Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Faure made his address on Tuesday at the 9th edition of the Forum with over 500 participants from 61 countries, State House said.
‘Empowered Youth: Our Commonwealth’ is the theme of the Forum which is organised every three years by the Commonwealth of Learning and co-hosted with Open University.
“Thanks to technology, our youth are more aware than ever before of the opportunities that this brave new world can provide. Today’s youth are more aspirational than their forefathers because they know that with the right education and the right opportunities, anything is possible,” said Faure.
While raising the aspirations of young people is important, Faure said that it is not enough and that “we need to raise the aspirations of entire societies and communities so that an enabling ecosystem of aspiration and achievement can be created.”
He noted, however, the danger of creating aspiration without providing proper access to education and said that young people need support to access quality education which in turn will help them develop the necessary skills for the future.
“To improve access, we need to think outside the box and beyond the “brick and mortar” approach. We need to think in terms of open, distance and technology-enabled learning, which are tried and tested mechanisms for ensuring that learning can take place at any time and in any place – and this includes formal, non-formal, informal learning opportunities,” added Faure.
The head of state of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, said that “as policymakers, we need to foster inclusive educational environments that reach excluded and marginalized groups and respect the diverse needs of young people.”
He highlighted how in Seychelles facilitating cost-effective access to education through open education resources is ingrained in the Open and Distance Learning policy and the Information Communication Technology in education policy.
The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) was created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. Hosted by the Government of Canada, COL is the world’s only intergovernmental organisation solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning. 
Source: Seychelles News Agency