The Africa Regional Open Government Partnership (OGP) Conference was held in Cape Town (South Africa) from the 4th to 6th May 2016. Gino Fransman (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University) and Glenda Cox (University of Cape Town), both South African PhD researchers within the UNESCO Global Open Educational Resources Graduate Network (GO_GN) presented and facilitated a panel discussion titled ‘Open Education: What About Africa?’ (presentation available here). The session was initiated upon invitation from the Ministry within the Department of Public Services and Administration (DPSA).
Participants engaged the panel with persisting issues of access and the necessity to maintain traditional modes of teaching on the continent, in particular. Several attending delegates voiced concerns about the very real need to focus on developing basic education on the continent, suggesting spaces to evolve understanding of core attributes of Open as a concept, and then using Open Education as a tool to better enable this, albeit differently from imaginings present in the room. A general consensus of the imperative to engage in more technologies for education on the continent emerged. Here Fransman and Cox advocated strongly for the inclusion of Open Educational Resources, especially where various modalities experience challenges of access, quality and cost beg a different approach. As primary recommendation during and after the session, the need to enhance the awareness levels of those within the OGP networks about Open was reaffirmed, with keen interest exhibited for the idea amongst the audience. Other recommendations revolved around the need to insert Open Education directly into National Action Plans being created within the OGP member states, as well as the need to expand government, civil and institutional awareness of the purpose and value of what Open Education as a tool may mean to and for OGP aims.
Gino Fransman (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University): Gino.Fransman@nmmu.ac.za @ginofransman
Glenda Cox (University of Cape Town): email@example.com @glencox