Towards Knowledge Societies

Jerome Binde, UNESCO, Nov 19, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I was looking at this book-length report (direct link to PDF) from 2005 today, following up some discussion on the UNESCO Open Educational Resources (OER) list. The focus on 'teaching networks' - which the paper encourages, especially by developing countries - carries with it the risk of the commodification of education, and hence, an entrenching as permanent the existing inequities of access to information. If education becomes a commercial product, then no matter how structured, it becomes something only those with resources can afford. We need not only to seek to de-commercialize the distribution, we need also to seek means to reduce or eliminate the dependence of researchers on patrons, to, in other words, seek to make resource production a function of the whole of society rather than a well-funded minority in that society.
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