The Open Learning Conference began with a range of presentations from National and State Ministry of Education representatives from across India and neighbouring countries. The event opened following traditional lighting of the lamp (see photo) after which we heard an opening address from each of the key dignitaries attending (second photograph shows Susan Phillips, COL rep., getting up to speak).
The conference is being attended by around 60 national and state ministers and secretaries of education and other government officials from the education sector. In India, open schooling is an attempt to address the problem of the extremely large numbers of students who drop out of schooling before completing a secondary education, and the even larger numbers of students who do not have access to any form of schooling at all.
Key messages from the first day include:
- Changes over a century in India: in 1900 the illiteracy rate was 93.6%, in 2001 ?? 44%. However, in the same period of time, the population has grown from around 230 million to one billion ?? so the actual numbers of people considered illiterate in India has actually grown!
- Strong endorsement for educational policies to mandate a multi-modal learning approach ?? to embrace as wide a range of learners and learning opportunities as possible
- Assertion that all learners must become autonomous, self-directed learners. This requires:
- Learning what to learn
- Learning how to learn
- Learning how to evaluate one??s own achievements
- A self-regulated process for monitoring learning throughout life
Some good quotes I heard during the day??
- We need to liberate education so that education can liberate us!
- education is a process of human empowerment and human enlightenment in order to achieve human transformation.
- open schooling is not about providing access alone ?? but about providing every chance of success!