The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education has been announced as a Laureate of the esteemed UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of ICT in Education.
The prestigious award recognises the National Forum’s initiative, ‘Supporting Open Education: Ireland’s Model for Supporting the Use of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) for Teaching and Learning’, implemented via its National Resource Hub and Open Courses for those who teach.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD, expressing his congratulations, emphasised the initiative’s alignment of the National Resource Hub with Ireland’s broader higher education strategy. “Digital technology and innovation is a key enabler to deliver transformative education. The National Resource Hub is a pioneering platform, democratising access to educational resources, enhancing teaching quality, and facilitating lifelong learning. It is an integral part of our ambitious vision for a more innovative, inclusive, and sustainable higher education system and supports our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Dr Alan Wall, CEO of the HEA, highlighted the initiative’s alignment with education for sustainable development objectives in Ireland. “This initiative, recognised by the prestigious UNESCO ICT in Education Prize, underlines Ireland’s dedication to these principles. It’s not just about fostering critical thinking and empowerment; it’s about creating active contributors to a more sustainable and inclusive future. The National Resource Hub does this by ensuring equitable, open access to quality education resources, not only in Ireland, but across the globe.” The internationalisation of higher education is a key pillar of the HEA’s strategy, and the National Forum’s initiative contributes significantly to this aim. Dr Wall added, “The recognition from UNESCO validates our efforts towards internationalising Irish higher education. It not only enhances our global standing but also encourages international collaboration in open education.”
The National Forum’s Chairperson, Prof Marie Clarke echoed the sentiments of the Minister and the CEO of the HEA, adding, “We believe in the power of open resources and practices to democratise education, inspire innovation, and enhance learning outcomes. This philosophy has been a driving force in advancing teaching and learning in Ireland’s higher education sector, breaking down barriers and broadening horizons for educators and learners alike. The UNESCO ICT in Education Prize is more than an award; it’s an affirmation of the transformative potential of open education. As we look forward, we remain committed to fostering a culture of shared knowledge, collaboration, and innovation in the higher education sector, not only in Ireland but in an increasingly interconnected world.”
For full press release, visit https://hea.ie/2023/06/08/irelands-national-forum-for-the-enhancement-of-teaching/