A study of stakeholders' perception and acceptance of 'openness' in education

Nayantara Padhi
Indira Gandhi National Open University
New Delhi, India

The buzzword in the education and research field today is 'open education.' There are several reasons in favour of open education, such as the shortage of higher education institutions, and its diverse options, flexibility, cost, and usage of technology. 'Openness' in education has been in practice for over four decades, but understanding and acceptance of it among the stakeholders is still low. The open education system began with the broad objectives of removing barriers to learning and providing learners with flexibility in terms of medium, pace, place and choice of courses. With the fast advances in technology, the scale of openness has increaded greatly, for example with Open Education Resources (OER), Open Courseware (OCW), Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), and Open Access (OA). Access, ownership, participation, sharing and licensing are the drivers of open education. However, while it has many positive aspects, the question still remain Is openness well accepted by the stakeholders (educators, learners, researchers, employers, policy-makers, parents, peers and society at large)? Few studies have been carried out to understand the stakeholders' perceptions and level of acceptance of 'openness' in education. The author has identified various issues which may act as potential barriers to its acceptance, such as the infrastructure, skill and acceptance of technology, recognition, reliability, quality assurance, copyright, sharing and transmission, motivation and costing. Through administering a questionnaire, this study examines how the stakeholders in the education sector in India perceive 'openness' and up to what level they accept it. The study identifies the areas on which educators and policy-makers should focus to make open education acceptable in the society, and give due recognition to lifelong learning.