The 1st UNESCO UNITWIN Work Conference held at KNOU Headquarters
On 19 January 2017, the 1st UNESCO UNITWIN Work Conference was held at the Headquarters of Korea National Open University (KNOU) to launch the UNITWIN Network and to materialize its cooperation programme for the next four years.
As a founding members, Dr. Mansor Fadzil, President of Open University Malaysia (OUM), Dr. Troung Tien Tung, President of Hanoi Open University (HOU) and Dr. Utak Chung, Director of Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) have led their delegation to Seoul to witness the beginning of UNESCO UNITWIN network on 'Sharing Knowledge and Experiences of Distance Education in Higher Education'.
Following opening remarks of Dr. Byung-gi Moon, Dean of the Office of Int'l Affairs (OIA) at KNOU, the Acting President, Dr. Oi-sook Kim addressed the welcoming remarks to the participants by stressing the importance of shared goal and responsibility of network institutions for improving higher education by sharing knowledge, exchanging good practices across the world and engaging together in projects related to Sustainable Development Goal 4.
Dr. Young-gon Kim, Director-General from the Ministry of Education and Dr. Kwangho Kim, Secretary-General from the Korean National Commission for UNESCO delivered congratulatory speeches filled with the great expectation on the Network and promised to support Network's activities in promoting quality education and lifelong learning by joining them continuously in related projects.
A keynote speaker, Dr. David Atchoarena, Director of UNESCO Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning conveyed first his thanks and congratulation to KNOU for the preparation and organization for the very first work conference and encourage this new UNIWTIN Network to actively engage and participate in UNESCO related activities.
UNESCO and Network signed the agreement concerning the establishment of a UNITWIN Cooperation Programme stated the roles and scope of works.
At the plenary/panel session moderated by Dr. Taerim Lee, Professor of Dept. of Information Statistics at KNOU, the President of OUM and HOU and the Director of APCEIU gave a presentation on “Issue and Challenges in Implementing SDG4” and “Cases of International Cooperation”. Especially, Dr. Utak Chung, Director of APCEIU has shared an idea on working in collaboration to build an online course related to the Global Citizenship Education (GCED) in the framework of the UNITWIN Programme.
In the work guideline session in the afternoon, Director David Atchoarena expressed his hope and expectations that the Network would guide other universities by disseminating the strategy and make its unique contribution to quality education by promoting lifelong learning and distance education using ICT and ODL. The followings are suggestions from UNESCO for a possible four-year work plan of the network.
1. Share knowledge and Good Practices in Distance Education
2. Share Understanding of Global Educational Issues such as Global Citizenship Education (GCED)
3. Advocate for Distance Education, Equitable Education and Identify Challenges for its Development in Developing Countries
4. Assist Developing Countries in Establishing an Open University with Appropriate Delivering Methods of Distance Education
5. Network & Cooperate, e.g. Arrange for Network members to participate in UNESCO Programme & Activities
After a special screening of KNOU’s past ODA Activities entitled “3 year project with DR Congo” made of footages from the 3 year project ‘Customized Distance Education System for DRC’, the head of team of OIA, Dr. Changyeul Yang made a briefing to the delegation on the general/specific objective, process made so far to get an approval from UNESCO and expected results of this UNITWIN Network.
Best practices of UNITWIN Network in Korea, Handong Global University and Sookmyung Women’s University were introduced during the last 2017-2020 Plan Working Session, moderated by Dr. K.P Joo, Professor of Dept. of Youth Education. Opinions and discussions on possible cooperative research projects and educational contents that can be developed among institutions were also exchanged.
The next annual conference for Network will be held in Seoul again at the second half of this year to review and discuss the result of above mentioned works and Open University Malaysia will be the host for the year of 2018.
The conference successfully ended thanks to the presence of all guests from six different institutions (UNESCO, Korean Ministry of Education, OUM, HOU, APCEIU and Korean National Commission for UNESCO) and the active participation of academic staffs from KNOU.