The Open University’s work has been to spread learning, firstly to anyone in the UK; and now, with the benefit of networks and technology, to people all over the world.
The three elements that constitute our vision of a world where learning is universally accessible are:
- To remove barriers to learning. The Open University has no entry criteria and is giving an opportunity for higher education to groups which are traditionally underrepresented in universities. We currently support more than 61,000 students financially, and have over 13,500 students with registered disabilities. As our reach grows, so does demand for such assistance.
- To develop technologies that enable education to be delivered, not-for-profit, anywhere on the planet, and to devise pedagogical models and content to best utilize these. This has been spearheaded by our OpenLearn and Open Source projects to make educational materials accessible worldwide and for free.
- To make education available to the poorest in the world, to those with least access to it at present. The ambition is a global one, and has already begun with our OU in Africa programme, which works with thousands of teachers, and, as a result, benefits hundreds of thousands of children in nine countries and five languages across the continent. Other programmes taking access to education to India and China are also under development.