New President of ICDE


In recognition of the immense opportunities offered by a quality education, the world has identified a new Sustainable Development Goal “Education 2030”, which now includes developing the higher education system using new technologies, Open Educational Resources (OER) and distance-education modalities. Since the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) is one of the global innovative champions for «Education 2030», its new Executive Committee met in Oslo, Norway on 25-26 January 2016, to elect its President and set the direction for the future.

Professor Mandla Makhanya, the new president, embraced the global goal when he said:

“The opportunities delivered by digital, open and flexible learning will increase access, equity, quality and relevance, and narrow the gap between what is taught at tertiary education institutions and what economies and societies demand.”

Makhanya is the first African ICDE president and he leads the largest university in Africa, the University of South Africa (UNISA). UNISA has 350,000 students, about 80 percent from the black population, and educates about 40 percent of the teachers in Africa. Professor Makhanya will lead the organisation at a time of dramatic change in the field of online and distance education.

The ICDE Executive Committee (EC) at its first meeting considered the following future initiatives:

  • A global Doctoral Consortium to support doctoral students and innovation

  • A study to define models for effective online, open and flexible education, for quality and innovation 

  • Significant events around the globe for quality higher education, in partnership with UNESCO

The Executive Committee also endorsed the credo of ethical leadership and good governance in higher education. During their stay in Oslo they met informally with representatives from the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian academia.

In addition to the President, the Executive Committee is composed of the following leading international scholars:

  • Asha Kanwar, President & Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth of Learning

  • Belinda Tynan, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Open University, UK

  • Dr. Yang Zhijian, President at The Open University of China

  • Maxim Jean-Louis, President and Chief Executive Officer at Contact North/ Contact Nord, Canada

  • Alan Tait, Emeritus Professor of Distance Education and Development, The Open University UK

Read more about the members ICDE Executive Committee

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