Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) and President of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU), talked about the imperatives, status, and challenges of open education in Asia as an invited speaker at the e-Learning Korea 2017 Conference held at Coex, Seoul, South Korea. The theme of the said conference held from 30 to 31 August 2017 was “e-Learning: Happy Encounter with New Technology.”

Chancellor Bandalaria discussed “The Paris Message” which argues that funding is crucial to achieve online, open and flexible systems that will deliver quality higher education, student success, improved capacity, and cost-effective pathways to learnings. In line with this, she also emphasized the United Nations (UN) Education Agenda 2030 or Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4 that proposes inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030. She also included the forecasted needs of education in Asia and regional cooperation for quality education/regional competitiveness.

Chancellor Bandalaria also discussed Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Educational Resources (OER) as part of open education in Asia. Lastly, Chancellor Bandalaria enumerated sustainability/business models for MOOCs; recognition of certificates of MOOC completion; student engagement and persistence in MOOCs; lack of an accepted QA Framework for MOOCs and OERs; designing teaching presence into the course; digital exclusion in Asian countries; and intellectual property mindset/culture as challenges that open education in Asia currently face.

Chancellor Bandalaria was invited to the conference by the ASEAN Cyber University (ACU) Project. The ACU Project aims to expand higher education opportunities in ASEAN and strengthen the relationship between the Republic of Korea and ASEAN universities. ACU also offers e-Learning courses and educational resources through open platforms and Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Other attendees from UPOU were Dr. Melinda Lumanta, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Dr. Joane V. Serrano, Director of Information Office/Multimedia Center; and Ms. Margaret J. Suarez, University Researcher. (Jan Pauline Borce)