From: The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand
Media Release: Immediate
Open Poly CEO Elected to Global Organisation
Chief executive of The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand Paul Grimwood has been elected to the executive committee of the
global organisation for flexible and distance learning.
Dr Grimwood joins representatives from the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, South Africa and Argentina on the executive
of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). Election is by ballot among ICDE members.
Based in Oslo, Norway, the ICDE has 99 member institutions from 45 countries.
They include leading international distance learning organisations such as the United Kingdom Open University.
A number of the world’s largest “mega-universities” are also members, including the Indira Gandhi National Open
University in India with over 1.5 million students.
The ICDE is recognised by the United Nations and works closely with organisations such as UNESCO and with the European
Union in promoting international collaboration and developments in distance learning.
Dr Grimwood said his election was recognition of The Open Polytechnic’s international reputation in the distance
“This is the fastest growing area of education in the world and The Open Polytechnic is seen as a first rate provider in
distance design and delivery.
“Our focus is very much on upskilling people in the workforce and that’s mirrored in many distance institutions across
“At the same time there are huge education challenges in the developing world. Distance learning is seen as the key to
meeting those challenges.”
Dr Grimwood said he was particularly looking forward to ICDE’s work in the emerging area of Open Educational Resources
OER involves making educational resources and content freely available on the web for other organisations and
individuals to access and modify for their own needs.
“It’s potentially a very powerful way of enhancing and opening up access to learning world-wide,” Dr Grimwood said.
“There are also some complex issues around such things as intellectual property, academic integrity and where content
developers get a return on their investment.
“It’s going to be challenging and productive to engage with colleagues at the forefront of these issues from around the
The ICDE executive committee is responsible for making policy decisions in line with the organisation’s mission and
constitution. Members of the committee serve a four-year term.