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The only way to reach the goal of providing education for all is to go for open education, argues Professor Ebba Ossiannilsson. For over 20 years she has been a researcher, advocate, and ambassador of open and distance learning. To her, learning and education are human rights, and providing them to everyone is about democracy and social justice.
For the twitch towards open education to happen, a comprehensive systemic change in the global education system needs to be made.
While digital transformation has changed the way we live, work, communicate, spend time and the way we learn, most businesses have changed their business models to fit the digital era, but education has not, argues Ossiannilsson.
“Education seems to be the only business that has resistance to all the new things happening.”
What prevents the change from happening is the existing culture of education. For some teachers, the position in the front of the classroom is a question of power, and stepping out of the comfort zone is not an option. It also takes a big step forward by the leadership to work towards changing the system from classrooms and campuses towards more open education.
“Globally we have had a very hierarchical system in the culture of the educational system. In this lifelong learning model, we’re not used to thinking that people come in and out during their lifetime.”
She hopes to see a big change towards lifelong learning-oriented thinking, where people can just pop into the education system, and education is offered openly according to people's demands instead of the routines and traditions of institutions. This would demand a stronger immersion of society and education.
“Labour market demands skills such as communication, social skills, problem-solving, innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership, etc. These need to be emphasized but also recognized in the educational system.”