Mapping open education policy opportunities
July 11, 2008 § 1 Comment
Just before leaving for Italy, I spent a day in London talking with friends about the open education policy agenda. The friends in question were Darius Cuplinskas and Melissa Hagemann from the Open Society Institute, James Dalziel from Macquarie University in Australia and Polish activist Jaroslaw Lipszyc. The conversation focused on how to understand and act on opportunities for government policy that supports the principles outlined in the Cape Town Open Education Declaration.
As we knew in advance, both Poland and Australia are fertile ground in terms of open ed. Polish activists like Jaroslaw have gotten the attention of politicians, a few of whom have expressed an interest in building ideas like free textbooks into their platform. And, as the large number of Cape Town signatures from Poland demonstrates, there is a great deal of academic and NGO support. In Australia, the opportunity is mostly around large scale computerization in the schools. As governments across the country roll out this agenda, they will eventually have to deal with the issue of content. James sees this as an opportunity.
Of course, there are lots of unanswered questions about the specifics of moving ahead with these opportunities. How to package and sell concrete open ed policy ideas? How are decisions made? Who are the right allies? We agreed that it would be worth going through a process to answer these questions and map the opportunities in each country. The rough schematic for the map looked like this:
Melissa is currently looking for someone to turn this sketch into a more formal spec for creating the maps. Once she’s got a basic outline of what we are looking for, I will post it here. In the mean time, I am going to talk to Shuttleworth colleagues to see whether a similar process might be worthwhile in South Africa.