Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships were established in 2001 as part of an initiative designed to expand the modes of scholarships offered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK. To date, it has funded nearly 4,000 Scholars from 41 Commonwealth countries to study at 45 different higher education institutions in the United Kingdom. The programme is unique among the CSC’s portfolio in a number of ways:
- It is the only Commonwealth Scholarship targeted towards online and distance learning.
- Scholars can conduct their studies part-time, allowing them to continue with their employment or other responsibilities.
- Scholars who continue with their employment can immediately and directly apply what they learn from their coursework to their workplace.
- Many of the programmes of study are offered by UK-based universities in partnership with an organisation outside of the United Kingdom.
The CSC has completed a review of the Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship programme, examining the benefits of one of the few international scholarships offered to support study through online and distance learning, and is proud to share the findings of this review: ‘Expanding Horizons: The Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship Programme’. This report explores:
- The impact of Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholars on their programmes of study and in their workplaces.
- The benefits and characteristics of the relationships between university Providers and Partner organisations.
- The longer-term outcomes and impacts on Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholars and Alumni.
The findings are based upon surveys conducted with current Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholars, Employers of current Scholars, Programme Supervisors at the UK-based Provider Universities, and Representatives of the overseas Partner Organisations that those universities work with to deliver their programmes of study.
A set of interviews were also conducted with these stakeholders, which supported the creation of the CSC’s first set of cluster case studies. These four case studies each feature a different Master’s programme that Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholars have been funded to study on, incorporating the viewpoints of multiple stakeholder types to construct a picture of how each of those stakeholders contributes to and benefits from the programme within the context of Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships. These case studies can be found in the full report or accessed via the Evaluation Case Studies page.