Open education, in the form of resources and practices are both seen as contributors to SDG4. As the International Council for Distance Education notes on their website: ‘Under The Education 2030 Framework For Action Target 3, point 43 it is stated that:
“A well-established, properly-regulated tertiary education system supported by technology, Open Educational Resources (OERs) and distance education modalities can increase access, equity, quality and relevance, and narrow the gap between what is taught at tertiary education institutions and what economies and societies demand. The provision of tertiary education should be progressively free, in line with existing international agreements.” (ICDE, 2016)
The ambition is clear but the means to make it happen are not: “Twelve months in, and there’s been some good progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from governments, NGOs and businesses alike: looking at what’s material, making commitments, testing what’s possible and confirming shared roles in delivering these ambitions. But there is a missing piece in all this activity, and it’s the glue that holds it all together – systems thinking” (Draper, 2016). Green (2016) has also claimed that a power and systems approach to making change happen is critical to: “cover[s] our ways of working—how we think and feel, as well as how we behave as activists.”
This presentation (1) sets out the scale and scope of the SDGs; (2) reviews the potential contribution of open educational resources and practices to support the SDGs and (3) uses this framing of power and systems thinking to review the way open education activities might be fostered within tertiary education in all local, national and regional contexts in order to support the SDGs, and not just SDG 4. It will also tentatively propose a theory of change that brings together power relationships, systems thinking and open education as key components. It is hoped that this theory of change will be a starting point for wider debate and discussion.
Draper S (2016) System thinking, unlocking the Sustainable Development Goals, http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/opinion/2472665/systems-thinking-unlocking-the-sustainable-development-goals
Green D, (2016) How Change Happens, London, Oxford University Press
ICDE (2016) http://www.icde.org/open-education-resources
Uvalić-Trumbić S. and Daniel J. (2016) Sustainable Development Begins with Education, Journal of Learning for Development, 3(3); pp 3-8