ICDE’s active engagement in the UNESCO post-2015 Global Education Agenda

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Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education for the Future We Want – from statements to action.

ICDE is actively engaged in developing the policy stream - or ’red thread’ - that links three major events in Bali, Paris and Pretoria. These policy forums bring together leaders and decision makers from around the world, including senior officials of education ministries and policy makers in higher education, to challenge the current way of thinking and with the aim to influence policy in reference to UNESCO’s post-2015 Global Education Agenda.

The High Level Policy Forum, organized by ICDE in partnership with UNESCO - Bali, November 2014

This High Level Policy Forum took place during the ICDE Presidents’ Summit in Bali on 20 November 2014. The theme for the Presidents’ Summit was ’Leadership Challenges: Approaches to Successful Open Education Models’. The policy forum was attended by higher education leaders from across the globe and these leaders endorsed UNESCO's post-2015 Global Education Agenda and agreed that access to, and success in, open, online and flexible learning are key solutions to the pressing development challenges and needs of 21st century societies. The leaders also produced 20 specific actions for governments, institutions and faculty.

The Bali Message was developed as an outcome of the High Level Policy Forum, and this can be accessed here.

The Global High Level Policy Forum, organized by UNESCO in partnership with ICDE - Paris, June 2015

The Bali Message will influence the discussions taking place at the Global High Level Policy Forum, which will be held from 9-11 June 2015 at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris. This policy forum, which will be attended by up to 120 leaders from around the world, will challenge the Bali Message and seek to establish how to turn statements into action. The theme of the policy forum will be ’ Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education for the Future We Want: From Statements to Action: Equity, Access, and Quality Learning Outcomes.’ Access, equity and quality learning are key features shaping the new vision for the Post-2015 education agenda. Higher education is central to the future global sustainable development agenda and to helping countries, particularly developing ones, achieve "equitable, quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030".

ICDE has developed a Discussion Paper with questionnaire, which builds on the Bali Message, that has been distributed to invitees to the policy forum. It asks individuals and organizations to make clear what they are doing to leverage Open and Distance Learning (ODL), flexible learning and Open Educational Resources (OER) to provide greater access to and success in learning in post-secondary education. It will also ask what impact this work is having on social and economic inequality in their nation. The paper also requests participants to review the specific actions recommended in the Bali Message and indicate which, if any, of these they are actively pursuing and what they would add to this list. The responses that are gathered will be collated into a ‘What We Heard’ statement which will be presented during the Global High Level Policy Forum.

The High Level Policy Forum, organized by ICDE in partnership with UNESCO, Commonwealth of Learning and Open Education Consortium - Pretoria, October 2015

Finally, the policy stream - or ’red thread’ – will culminate with the High Level Policy Forum taking place on 17 October 2015 in Pretoria immediately after the ICDE World Conference and Presidents' Summit. In preparation for the policy forum, institutions across the globe will be surveyed to look into how they offer online, distance and open education. ICDE will also conduct interviews with representatives of the seven regions of the world. The information collated from the survey and regional interviews will be collated into seven regional reports that will be used to facilitate regional and international discussions. Using these seven regional reports and data from the limited survey, ICDE will help facilitate regional and international discussion on open, online, flexible education and eLearning.

These three events, closely linked, represent a major step forward as ICDE actively helps to facilitate the discussion amongst higher education leaders across the world to work together to put education on the agenda for policy makers in reference to achieving "equitable, quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030".