6 December 2015 — Burnaby, Canada — Australia will increase its contribution to the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) to $1 million AUD in 2015-16 to support a range of projects aimed at improving education in Commonwealth countries through distance and open learning, especially for hard-to-reach girls and women.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made the announcement at a press conference in Malta on 28 November 2015. Prime Minister Turnbull was in Malta to attend the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

“The Commonwealth of Learning is a great Commonwealth initiative which aims to improve access to education – especially for girls – through distance and open learning,” Turnbull said while announcing that Australia will double its core contribution to COL from $500,000 AUD last year.

“We are grateful for Australia’s generous contribution,” said COL President & CEO Professor Asha Kanwar. “Australia has made gender equality and investments in education a strategic priority. Investing in girls and women yields high returns. COL’s work in this area will support Australia in achieving its aid program goals, and help to improve the lives of thousands of vulnerable girls and women.”