Open University of Cyprus: OpenEU launched, the first step to a pan-European Open University, with the participation of the Open University of Cyprus

The OpenEU alliance, coordinated by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), brings together 14 universities – amongst them the Open University of Cyprus – and 13 academic, business, rural, municipal and civil society associations from across Europe to create a pan-European Open University. OpenEU will contribute to the digital transformation of higher education institutions and the integration of technology in teaching and learning. OpenEU is one of the 14 new alliances awarded funding as part of the European Commission’s 2024 European Universities initiative call for proposals. The European Commission has decided to back the OpenEU project as part of its European Universities initiative, selecting it from among 56 proposals submitted by European alliances. OpenEU can now forge ahead thanks to the almost 14.4 million euros it has been awarded. The alliance brings together Europe’s leading open and distance universities alongside five on-campus universities that are committed to pushing forward with their digital transformation. Together they promote education that is student-centred, inclusive, digital and green, strengthening the EHEA and ensuring no one is left behind.

The Rector of the Open University of Cyprus, Professor Petros Pashiardis, states that: “The alliances of European Universities are the future of higher education. The OpenEU alliance is a unique opportunity to expand the impact and benefits of open and distance education, as well as to promote the digital transformation of Europe’s universities. In OpenEU, distance and conventional universities will join forces with social agents, businesses, networks, and other organisations, so that the field of higher education can expand to every corner of Europe, to every citizen who envisions education without limitations and exclusions. The Open University of Cyprus is inspired by and inspires this alliance, and aims to contribute to the foundation of a better future for open and distance education”.

OpenEU’s objective as the first pan-European Open University is to strengthen the digital, green and social dimension of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by offering access to high-quality higher education and lifelong learning to all, providing accessible and sustainable international experiences for all students, and contributing to the digital transformation of institutions. OpenEU wants to make the most of its collective experience to strengthen the EHEA by leveraging the potential of digital tools to create a pan-European open university that can guarantee learning opportunities for all, anytime and anywhere, regardless of time constraints, place of residence or people’s personal or professional circumstances. OpenEU represents over 368,000 university students (the vast majority are not traditional university students: their average age is 36, and 84% work and study at the same time), more than 709,000 graduates and 24,000 staff. It has been created in response to the main challenges facing the EHEA: the digital transformation of university institutions, the promotion of more inclusive, more equitable higher education, and the need to provide opportunities for lifelong learning for everyone.

The core members of the alliance are the eight leading online, open and distance universities, alongside two on-campus universitiesBifröst University, Iceland; Daugavpils University, Latvia; FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany; Hellenic Open University, Greece; Open Universiteit, the Netherlands; Open University of CyprusUniversidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain; Universidade Aberta, Portugal; Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain, and St Cyril and St Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. Furthermore, the Open University of the United Kingdom, Albania’s Fan S. Noli University, the Ukrainian Engineering Pedagogics Academy and the Republic of North Macedonia’s MIT University are also participating in the project to help drive the digital transformation of the EHEA. Three of the leading international academic networks, the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), the International Association of Universities (IAU) and Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED), will contribute to the alliance’s growth, providing their experience and ability to publicise the results obtained. In addition, the Fédération Interuniversitaire de l’enseignement à distance (FIED) of France will collaborate with its expertise in distance education. Likewise, several industrial associations and national and European clusters have expressed their support for the alliance and will collaborate in the different initiatives that OpenEU wants to develop, such as: Brightlands Smart Services CampusBulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), Mentoring EuropeSECARTYSStifterverband, Bulgaria’s Digital National Alliance, the EUROCITIES association, and the European Leader Association For Rural Development (ELARD).

Source: Open University of Cyprus | News (