E-learning: Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all

6 May 2016 11:00h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the WSIS Forum 2016.]

The Education 2030 Agenda reaffirms a political commitment to establishing legal and policy frameworks that promote inter alia, coordinated partnerships at all levels across sectors, and to uphold the right to participation of all stakeholders. Sustainable development goal No. 4 (SDG4), which calls for the international community to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ with its pillars of access, equity, and inclusion is mainly what was discussed in this session.

It explored ways related to supporting SDG4 with a focus on supporting innovative strategies for access to quality learning opportunities, including approaches related to access to information, information ethics, and digital literacy for learners and teachers in the twenty-first century. Discussions on the role of openly licensed educational resources (OER), not forgetting free and open software (FOSS) also took place.

Links between SDG4 and inclusive knowledge societies were made known including how the WSIS Action Line E-learning (C7) will contribute to reaching SDG4.

The panel was moderated by Mr Zeynep Varoglu, (Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO) who took panellists and participants through the following questions:

  • What are the links between access to information, information ethics, and digital literacy for learners and teachers in the twenty-first century?
  • What is the role of open solutions such as OER and FOSS in bringing forward SDG4?
  • What partnerships are necessary for linking SDG4 to WSIS Action Line C7?

Dr Critina Cardenas (Winner of the WSIS 2016 Prize and General Coordinator of Pilot Digital Inclusion and Literacy Programme in Mexico) expressed how in Mexico, the government works to create a portfolio of evidence for platforms that will permit programmes to improve children and their teachers ICT knowledge. An important 2016 goal is one of ensuring quality learning in basic education, and comprehensive learning to all groups of people in Mexico.

Dr Omar Alsaleh (Co-winner of the WSIS 2016 Prize and lecturer at King Saud University) highlighted how they have gone a long way in the creation of digital courses via the Smart Campus initiative. Here, every faculty member (lecturer) can digitalise their courses and then dispatch them to their students. So far 350 faculty members have accepted this practice and 231 courses have already been approved. All this to provide support for training in the King Saud University.

Varoglu emphasised how the world has changed from the point of view of ICT issues. ICT development issues are the twenty-first-century skills. And we cannot avoid the fact that ICT and education are very closely related.

Dr Raymond Morel (Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences), speaking in French, said online education is the affair of all three parties, i.e., policymakers, ICT companies, and the entire population (citizens). He added that in all countries, policymakers should make their difficulties known so that afterwards, the money needed for their projects could be discussed. He insisted that policymakers should take digital pedagogies ahead and prioritise digital societies.

UNESCO’s activities in this domain are linked to WSIS Action Lines C4 (Capacity building) and C7 (ICT Applications: E-learning).

by Antony Namanga