OpenMed final conference in Rome confirms commitment to opening up education in South Mediterranean Universities
The final conference of the OpenMed project, held in Rome on October 10, 2018, was an opportunity to present the project results, and discuss the visions on the future of Open Higher Educations in the Mediterranean, and it offered a platform for collaborations among project partners and stakeholders working on Open Education in higher education.
The event gathered 62 participants, representing 22 universities from Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Spain, UK, and two networks of universities. Participants have been welcomed by the Director of UNIMED, Mr Marcello Scalisi; the Deputy Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Italy, Mr Vito Borrelli; the Secretary General of AArU, prof. Amr Ezzat Salama; and the Ambassador of Jordan to Italy, HE Fayiz Khouri.
Over the last 3 years, OpenMed has contributed greatly to having open education placed on the educational agenda in the region, by working with partner institutions and the open education movement worldwide. Main highlights and achievements over the 3-year period can be accessed here.
During the event sessions, participating universities shared their strategies to open-up their educational offer, and confirmed their commitment to Open Education. Strategies vary from the organisation of workshops on specific aspects of OER, such as open licensing or open pedagogies, to offering training opportunities to faculty members, to advocate for public and institutional policies for open education.
While many higher education institutions run bottom-up initiatives, universities willing to embrace the values of Open Education require leaders and policy makers that can steer the profound challenges and changes necessary at managerial, educational and cultural levels. In this regard, participants also discussed key recommendations to institutional leaders around the following topics:
- Support democratic and diverse access to knowledge
- Build Capacities in Open Education
- Instill a Culture of Openness, Reward Open Education
- Direct human capitals and economic resources towards Open Education initiatives
Open Education in the South Mediterranean can be achieved if all stakeholders act togethers. Favouring a bottom-up as well as top-down approach and by including the level of university governance, OpenMed proves that it is possible to better integrate Mediterranean university systems into global academic and scientific cooperation networks, which is an essential factor in the integration of Mediterranean communities and economies.
The OpenMed team is satisfied with all that has been achieved, and we will continue to advocate for action to support openness in education in the South-Mediterranean. We are eager to hear comments from others with insight or interest in this area, and we look forward to what we can carry on doing!
Photos can be seen on our collective repository of openly licensed images.