April 23, 2008
Philippine Commons Holds Conference on
Arellano School of Law
and the Vibal Foundation held a forum
entitled: “Open Education: Are we ready and where are we?”
on 23 April 2008 in Pasay City. The aim was to explore the opportunities
and benefits open education could bring to the country’s education
system. It brought together actors from government, the private
sector and NGOs to understand what open education means, what the
global trends are and to explore ways to harness it in the country.
Open education is intimately tied to the rise of the Internet.
Attorney Jaime Soriano, executive director of the E-law
Center of Arellano Law School, said it is ”any scholarly,
academic or guided initiative that promotes access to learning
and knowledge in a free, open and collaborative environment using
the tools and infrastructure of information technology.”
“This can potentially have a huge impact on our education
system,” said Friedrich Naumann Foundation Resident Representative
Siegfried Herzog, who was one of the guest speakers. “It
is uniquely suited to the liberal approach to education,”
he added. Herzog further explained that open education allows
the development of a critical analytical mindset and the formation
of values and cultural sensibilities. Both these objectives
are important to a liberal policy of education that wants to enable
people to make informed choices and to make good
use of their individual freedom.
“It will give students access to information which they
need to question things happening around them, and will thus enable
them to become more active and engaged citizens. Crucially, open
education breaks the monopoly of information that governments
often exercise on teaching content. It is part and
parcel of the right to information, which is
becoming more and more crucial as a fundamental
right in a free society,” He stressed.
The Philippines seems well placed to take advantage of these
new opportunities. Representatives from the Department of Education
made clear that the opportunities inherent in open education are
recognized and play an increasing role in the efforts of the government
to improve educational results. Private initiatives emerging from
civil society are also set to provide a growing amount of input
that is tailor-made to the Philippine situation. The conference
has certainly highlighted an important and promising avenue for
better cooperation between government and civil society.
Read more on how this new system is compatible with the liberal
approach to education here.