Monday, 20 July 2015

A Call to Action - Equity, access, quality and teachers in the digital age

Embedded image permalinkThe ICDE (International Council for Distance Education) met in Paris recently for a Global Policy Forum. The aim of the forum was to build on previous work such as recently in Bali and to ensure equity, access and quality learning outcomes. This was framed with some urgency around the area of higher education with the prediction that in the next 15 years there will be a huge increase in the number of students seeking access to a quality education.

They are asking all governments, educational institutions, teachers and students, to jointly address the needs as outlined in the Paris Message (recommend you read this 3 page document) Key messages are around recognizing the importance of online, open and flexible learning to contribute to the quality & provision of education; the development of effective policy & regulation based on principles of equity; and that funding is critical to the initiation and sustainability of elearning initiatives. 
These are all messages that resonate strongly with my work with the VLN Primary School. Through open, flexible, online & collaborative learning (I added the last qualifier) we have the potential to unlock the gates to so many learning opportunities for our students. This is not just for higher education, but across the sector and community. Government and the educational sector are just starting to 'get it' in terms of understanding the contribution online networked learning can make and are still way behind in resourcing and supporting initiatives such as ours. A good part of my time is spent advocating, and applying for different funding streams because we as yet don't fit into any government 'policy parameters' of which there are a host beginning to be aimed at schools collaborating. This is quite a frustration as what we really should be doing is spending our very little time that we do have working with schools, teacher and students.
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