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Open Polytechnic receives international accolades

Posted on 6 December 2013

The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand is celebrating receiving two international accolades at the Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning being held in Nigeria this week (2-6 December 2013).

Under the Commonwealth of Learning’s (COL) Excellence in Distance Education Awards the Open Polytechnic was recognised for the high quality of its distance learning materials. Earlier Open Polytechnic Chief Executive Dr Caroline Seelig was conferred with a prestigious COL Honorary Fellowship.

The Commonwealth of Learning, based in Vancouver, Canada, is an intergovernmental organisation created by the Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies.

The Excellence in Distance Education Awards recognise the achievements of distance education institutions from across the Commonwealth.

The Open Polytechnic was one of three winners in the Award of Excellence for Distance Education Materials category.

The Open Polytechnic was selected for the high quality of its learning materials in its Get Ahead Skills programme.

The Get Ahead Skills programme is designed for second chance adult learners, or unemployed people who need to gain employment skills, who have minimal or no prior tertiary education.

Learners in the programme explore aspects of their personal, social and educational development with a focus on literacy, effective communication, financial goal setting, training and employment pathways. Learners also explore personal and community health and wellness, establish realistic plans to enhance employment opportunities and set future goals.

Earlier in the week, Dr Seelig was awarded an Honorary Fellowship for her outstanding service to the advancement of open and distance learning in the Commonwealth and her contribution to promoting access to quality skills development through the use of technology.

Dr Seelig was in Nigeria to accept the award and fellowship. “The Open Polytechnic has  70 years’ experience in creating distance learning materials specifically designed to support mainly adult, part-time learners, to achieve their educational goals”, says Dr Seelig. 

“Winning the Award for Excellence in Distance Education materials highlights that the Open Polytechnic is at the forefront of learning material design on an international level, and I am proud to accept this award on behalf of the organisation.”

Dr Seelig said her Honorary Fellowship was further acknowledgment of the Open Polytechnic’s achievements in providing New Zealanders with flexible access to job-relevant skills and learning.


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