Stakeholders’ Perception and Acceptance of ‘Openness’ in Education: A Study
The buzzword in education and research today is ‘open education’. There are several reasons in favour of open education, such as shortage of conventional higher education institutions; availability of diversified options; flexibility; cost; and use of technology. ‘Openness’ in education has been in practise for over four decades, but its understanding and acceptance amongst the stakeholders is still low. The open education system began with broad objectives of removing barriers to learning and providing learners’ flexibility in learning in terms of medium, pace, place and choice of courses, etc. With advancements in technology, the vastness of openness is increasing manifold resulting in various formats such as Open Education Resources (OER), Open Course Ware (OCW), Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Open Access (OA) etc. Access, ownership, participation, sharing and licensing are the drivers of open education. While there are many positives of open education, the question still remains — is openness well accepted by the stakeholders (educators, learners, researchers, employers, policy
makers, parents, peer and society)? The review of past research in this area shows advancement in the format and related issues but hardly any study is carried out to understand the stakeholder’s perception and acceptance of ‘openness’ in the field of education. This review has identified issues such as, infrastructure, skill and acceptance of technology, recognition, reliability, quality assurance, copyright, sharing and transmission, motivation, costing, etc, as some of the barriers. Keeping in view these issues and the urge to know how stakeholders’ perceive ‘openness’ and up to what levels openness is accepted is the focus of this study. Using the survey based quantitative research method, the survey has been carried out by administering questionnaires to stakeholders in the education sector in India. Results of the study identifies areas where educators and policy makers should focus to make open education acceptable in society, and give it due recognition as a viable means for achieving lifelong learning.