Benchmarking for Open Universities: Guidelines and Good Practices

The publication ‘Benchmarking for Open Universities: Guidelines and Good Practices’ has been released by UNESCO IITE within the project ‘Promoting ICT Capacity Building and Open Education in the Era of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technologies’. It is elaborated with the support of Shanghai Open University and substantive inputs by international experts and representatives of open universities from different countries worldwide, including Botswana, Canada, China, Cyprus, Ghana, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand, The Gambia, Türkiye, United Kingdom, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The publication addresses the issue of quality as applied to the performance of open and distance learning universities and intends to raise awareness about benchmarking methodology as a tool for quality assessment and improvement. It advocates the idea of developing a quality culture and extending the scope of quality assurance agenda within institutions.

Worldwide there are currently more than 90 open and distance learning universities offering lifelong learning opportunities and democratizing access to higher education. Despite their different economic, social, cultural and educational contexts, open universities have similar key priorities and remain adherent to the principles of open education, which make them powerful enablers for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4: ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.

The publication outlines major approaches and frameworks used by main actors in the field of quality assurance and provides detailed examination of relevant benchmarking tools designed to improve education quality and tailored to the use of technologies in higher education. It analyses practices shared by open universities and reveals novel solutions implemented to deal with quality issues, to leverage digital technologies for improving the performance, to maintain partnerships and to promote innovation with the aim to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education. The publication offers guidelines and recommendations for the combined benchmarking approach to assist open and distance learning universities in their efforts towards the performance improvement. The publication is concluded by good practices of 21 open universities summarised with a focus on quality assurance, equity and inclusion, technologies for teaching and learning, social impact and collaboration.

The publication ‘Benchmarking for Open Universities: Guidelines and Good Practices’ is available in English.

Publication year: 2023

Download publication