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European Commission


Member of the European Commission responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth

First European MOOCs – a milestone for education

Launch of first pan-European MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

initiative /Brussels/ Heerlen

25 April 2013

Good morning everyone,

It's a great pleasure to be joining you from Brussels. First of all, I would like to congratulate the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities and its members on the launch of the first pan-European MOOCs scheme. I believe this could be a true milestone in the development of European education.

I strongly welcome this initiative, which could open up education to tens of thousands of students – maybe millions – who would not otherwise have access to the range of courses which will be offered.

The efforts that EADTU and its members have been devoting to the promotion of Open Educational Resources are quite remarkable, and also have my full support.

This is a very timely initiative. Open Educational Resources and Massive Open Online Courses are changing the education landscape all over the world, and Europe cannot afford to lag behind.

The European Commission has long been committed to promoting more efficient and equitable education and training in Europe. Nowadays this includes making full use of the opportunities offered by Information and Communication Technologies and by Open Educational Resources. MOOCs are a striking development in this context. They are the most concrete example to date of the potential of technology to widen access to quality education.

With all this in mind, I am preparing to launch a new policy initiative called 'Opening up Education'. Opening up Education will explore how technologies and access to digital content can be used to introduce new ways of teaching and learning.

These tools can improve the effectiveness of education. They can leverage our efforts to promote excellence and equity among citizens, by encouraging innovation and providing broader access to high-quality knowledge. They can thus help citizens to upgrade their skills, regardless of their social or economic situation.

But there are other advantages to this initiative, starting with the fact that it will foster co-operation amongst partner universities. This is crucial, because partnerships are key to bringing about systemic changes to our education and training systems, for example to adopt more innovative teaching methods. That is why our new 'Erasmus for All' programme will provide stronger support to strategic partnerships which add substantial value to the modernisation of education.

I would like to appeal to the members of the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities to keep on working together on projects of this scale, creating partnerships and finding synergies with one another, to the lasting benefit of European citizens.

My congratulations to everyone connected with the OpenupEd portal. I hope that it will be a great success.

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