Recent months have been busy with a number of high-level international policy and practice engagements involving the National Forum. International engagements are important in ensuring that enhancement work ongoing at national level is informed by good practice and emerging global trends. They are also helpful in allowing us to share with international colleagues what we, as a sector, are learning and to keep Ireland at the forefront of educational developments.
In March, Dr Catherine Cronin, the National Forum’s Strategic Education Developer, participated in an expert interview with the OECD higher education policy team as part of an OECD-European Commission-Hungary project on the digital transformation of higher education in Hungary. The OECD team were particularly interested in learning from Ireland’s experience of conducting the INDEx Survey in 2019. In April, Dr Cronin also participated in an interview focused on Ireland’s national approach to addressing UNESCO’s five Areas of Action on open educational resources (OER) and was subsequently invited to participate in UNESCO’s OER Dynamic Coalition consultation, beginning in May.
At European level, the National Forum is now a partner in the European Digital Education Hub. The establishment of the European Digital Education Hub was a key action in the European Commission’s recent Digital Education Action Plan. The Hub seeks to address the identified needs of national initiatives, including empowering initiatives through networking and peer-to-peer exchange, enabling collaboration and co-creation amongst European and national initiatives, and boosting data and digital literacy, AI skills, networked IT infrastructures and seamless data mobility across Europe.
The National Forum team have also had opportunities to engage with national bodies and representatives across countries. Our work on open educational resources and practices was shared through a keynote for Commonwealth of Learning in January and at a professional development event held by faculty in the School of Education at The Open University of Sri Lanka in February. In April, representatives of Israeli higher education met with the team to find out more about how we support and evidence teaching excellence in Ireland.
We look forward to continued collaboration with international colleagues over the coming months as key stakeholders across the country seek to develop collaboratively a national vision for teaching and learning into the future.