the cape town declaration on open education, beta test

Written by Andrew Rens on November 30th, 2007

“We are on the cusp of a global revolution in teaching and learning. Educators worldwide are developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. These educators are creating a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. They are also planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together, deepening their skills and understanding as they go.

This emerging open education movement combines the established tradition of sharing good ideas with fellow educators and the collaborative, interactive culture of the Internet. It is built on the belief that everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint. Educators, learners and others who share this belief are gathering together as part of a worldwide effort to make education both more accessible and more effective.”

The Cape Town Declaration on Open Education has been soft launched. What that means is although the original drafters, representatives from the open education movement who met in Cape Town in September have worked hard to achieve consensus on this draft, its open for comment. The Declaration will be finalised in January 2008.

Even then of course it is not intended to be the only declaration on Open Education. No document could cover every aspect of a rapidly changing phenomenon, nor would that be desirable. There will be other declarations which arise from different communities, with different emphases; open educational formats and technologies, new pedagogies and even more which we can see only dimly at this point in history.

I think its an important move though. As a participant in the discussion in Cape Town in September I was deeply impressed by the energy and dedication of participants. Its not an African declaration but for those of us from the developing world it seemed significant that it will be named for an African city. Open education, and opening educational resources hold great promise for Africa, not as recipient of largesse from the global North, but as partners in teaching and learning.That is why I was pleased, to be able to participate as an African, in this process.


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Hi Andrew. From the website, I understand that I can only sign the declaration online from next month. Is there a way I could sign it sooner anywhere else?

    keep well

  2. Andrew Rens says:

    There is a form that people can fill in if they want to be listed as a signatory when the Declaration is fully launched in January:

    So while one can sign now, the signature won’t be visible anywhere but will be very useful when the Declaration comes out of the gate ‘officially’ in January with significant support, including all those signatures of those who’ve signed on now.