Wayne's world

Wayne Mackintosh's world vision of free learning for all is one that is shared by countless educators around the world. We all want to see quality learning provided, especially to the populations of the less well-off nations of the world. The difference though, is that he's going to make it happen. Born in South Africa, and now working in New Zealand, Wayne Mackintosh is chair of the WikiEducator Community Council, and is a strategy innovator with a passion for making learning futures happen. Trained as an accountant, he is in his own words, 'an educator by choice.' He has more than a passion. He also has the pragmatic wherewithal to realise his dream, cultivating many connections and in the process, helping to establish a powerful worldwide consortium of Open Education Anchor partners. These are universities across the globe who are willing to open up their courses and programmes to any learner for free. What's more, they have also agreed to provide free accreditation of learning in the form of degrees.

Speaking at the opening plenary of the Efquel Innovation Forum in Oeiras, Portugal, Wayne asked the delegates: Why do we ask people to pay more than they can afford for education? This is of course an important question to ask, even if it is unpalatable to many in the higher education sector. It's one that many institutions worldwide would be wise to begin asking themselves. Wayne didn't pull any punches in his keynote. Citing Sir John Daniel's iron triangle, he argued that the biggest challenge for free open worldwide education is to lower the cost while widening access and raising quality. We WILL provide free education for all, he declared. This will be done by creating a growing network of partners who have enough influence and reach to create the critical mass with which the Open Educational Resources movement will gain purchase. Recognition of prior learning, whether credentialed or experiential, will be a key part of the success in achieving this vision, he said. His key question was that we already have all the ingredients to provide free learning for all at university level, so why aren't we doing it?

There is a long way to go to achieve this vision, but Wayne warned that those who do not subscribe will be left behind. It is a red herring question, he assured us, to ask whether providing free and open education for all will put universities our of business and lose teachers their jobs. Another red herring, he suggested, was that open educational resources were poorer in quality than the traditional course delivery currently offered by most universities. If the quality is poorer, he remarked, then the institution is unlikely to risk its reputation by offering it.

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Creative Commons License
Wayne's world by Steve Wheeler was posted from Lisbon, Portugal and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


simfin said…
Reminds me of way back in the 90s when I was a a Mac enthusiast, I heard; 'spend as little as you can afford on yourself, as much as you can afford on your kids and more than you can afford on RAM'. Now perhaps we can replace RAM with Education.

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