The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) is the leading global membership organization for the open and distance education community, and is open to institutions, educational authorities, commercial actors, and individuals.
ICDE has consultative partner status with UNESCO and shares UNESCO’s key value – the universal right to education for all. ICDE further derives its position from the unique knowledge and experience of its members throughout the world in the development and use of new methodologies and emerging technologies.
ICDE was founded in 1938 in Canada as the International Council for Correspondence Education and today has members from over 60 countries worldwide.
ICDE’s Permanent Secretariat is in Oslo, Norway, and has been hosted by this country on a permanent basis since 1988. ICDE is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research and by membership fees.
To advance the interests of its members, ICDE works to:
- Promote greater educational opportunity for all in the name of personal and national development.
- Further the acceptance of a wider range of learning modes.
- Drive best practice and the highest standards of educational provision.
- Support the development of new methodologies, and use of new technologies.
- Provide opportunities for professional interaction.
- Encourage and support linguistic groups and networks at national, regional and global levels.
- Promote intercultural cooperation and understanding.
The following strategic objectives have been identified for 2013 – 2016:
- To promote the importance of open, distance, flexible and online education, including e-learning in educational policy.
- To encourage quality in open, distance, flexible and online education, including e-learning.
- To support the development of new methodologies and technologies.
- To facilitate cooperation and networking among members.
- To strengthen ICDE membership and governance, and engage members in collaborative activity and organizational development.
ICDE’s Strategic Plan for 2013 – 2016 was developed with the involvement of the ICDE membership. Open online consultations with members in the form of focus groups were held in September and October 2012. Key external stakeholders were subsequently consulted. In November 2012, at the Standing Conference of Presidents (SCOP) meeting in Dubai, leaders of ICDE member organizations discussed the draft strategy and recommended priorities in plenary session and in groups. The ICDE Executive Committee developed the final Strategic Plan taking into consideration input from the entire process.
ICDE, an NGO having consultative status with UNESCO, shares that agency’s key aim – the attainment of quality education for all.
ICDE, supported by the Government of Norway, and with its Secretariat in Oslo, operates under Norwegian law.
ICDE’s actions are guided by the following values:
- ICDE is member focused – ICDE is an organization which involves members in decision making, in cooperative action and in cooperative problem solving.
- ICDE is transparent – members are able to follow the activities and decisions of ICDE.
- ICDE believes that the needs of the learner must be central in the pursuit of education as a universal right
Activities and initiatives
ICDE’s key activities are the organization of conferences and meetings, including the biennial World Conference, the annual Standing Conference of Presidents, and regional conferences held from time to time at the initiative of member institutions.
As a network organization, ICDE is also well placed to provide advice to members seeking to undertake collaboration projects and obtain funding.
Since 1999, ICDE has sought to recognize outstanding achievement in open and distance education through the Prize of Excellence award. The organization also publishes the online journal, Open Praxis, and maintains the ICDE website and monthly newsletter service as its chief information channels for members and other interested parties within open and distance education.
Prize of Excellence
ICDE rewards outstanding achievement in open and distance education through the Prize of Excellence award for both individuals and institutions. The Prize of Excellence is normally presented on a biennial basis at the ICDE World Conference.
Nominations for the award are invited from ICDE members, who are asked to provide a statement of support for their nominee.
Winners are selected by an independent, international panel, and decisions to award the prize are based on merit alone with no political or cultural considerations being made.
The ICDE Prize of Excellence is awarded to deserving institutions and individuals in the following areas:
- The Institutional Prize of Excellence
- The Individual Prize of Excellence
- The Prize for Lifelong Contribution to the Field