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Presidents of international universities finalize new Strategic Plan to expand open, distance education initiatives worldwide.

ICDE SCOP 2012 sets new record as the largest gathering of members of the International Council for Open and Distance Education
ICDE members commend H.H. Sheikh Mohammad’s Smart Learning initiative for higher education in the UAE

November 27, 2012
Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU) has announced that members of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) have completed drafting a new Strategic Plan (2013-2016) following several in-depth deliberations and Focus Group Discussions during the recently concluded ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents 2012 (ICDE SCOP 2012) at the HBMeU headquarters. While drafting the Strategic Plan, ICDE members also took into account the key points made by H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, during his speech at the event. Organized under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of HBMeU, ICDE SCOP 2012 has witnessed the largest gathering of ICDE members, particularly presidents of open and distance learning universities from around the world, in addition to regional and international ministers, to discuss various challenges and barriers associated with the implementation of ODE in the Arab region and around the world.

During ICDE SCOP 2012, the ICDE members particularly lauded the Mohammad Bin Rashid Initiative for Smart Learning for higher education in the UAE which was recently launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 

The ICDE members have identified five strategic objectives in line with its vision to become the global membership organization for enhancing the quality of open and distance education.  The Council members also agreed to jointly promote greater educational opportunity for all through increased acceptance of a wider range of learning modes; adoption of best practices and the highest standards of educational provision; development and use of new methodologies; provision of opportunities for professional interaction; encouragement and support for networks at the national, regional, global levels and linguistic groups; and promotion of intercultural cooperation and understanding.

Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of HBMeU, said: “ICDE SCOP 2012 provided an opportunity for HBMeU and other leading entities in open and distance education all over the world to share their experiences and best practices in promoting ODE as a tool for social and economic development. The high-level discussions helped generate new ideas and strategies to address various challenges associated with the implementation of ODE, particularly in terms of aligning ODE programs with the specific needs and priorities of various countries around the world. There were several strategic decisions that were made during the event, including the Council’s approval of the new Strategic Plan, which will surely have a significant impact on the future initiatives of ICDE. On the other hand, Dubai’s hosting of ICDE SCOP 2012 also allowed us to showcase the many advances that the emirate has made in the field of e-learning and academic excellence. Moreover, as hosts of the annual conference, we were particularly pleased to have initiated a more in-depth discussion of the challenges and opportunities in ODE in the Arab region.”

Prof. Tian Belawati, President of ICDE and Rector of the Indonesian Open University, said: “ICDE SCOP remains a very important networking platform that gathers prominent personalities from leading universities and academic institutions around the world to discuss many important issues and concerns significant to open and distance learning. I am pleased with the energetic participation of all delegates during the conference, which has been crucial in developing the new strategic initiatives that we have outlined for the next succeeding years. HBMeU has been a truly gracious host and we certainly had a very productive and wonderful experience enjoying Dubai’s hospitality. Moreover, it has been a great opportunity to see first-hand the amazing breakthroughs that Dubai has achieved over the years as a center for academic excellence and higher learning in the Arab world.”

A new global campaign to further promote e-learning, which will start in Dubai, was also launched during the conference by Prof. Tian Belawati. A number of strategic agreements were also signed during ICDE SCOP 2012, including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between HBMeU and Beirut Arab University (BAU) to work together on various initiatives related to e-learning such as research, publications, scientific conferences, seminars and events.