This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the Partnerships of the Global University System has been drafted as a result of a wide discussion with a number of important interested parties. The MoU is intended to enable key players to identify key common issues to the deployment of the Global University System and other information and communications technologies (ICT) based learning services and the provision of multimedia access to education and training globally. The MoU for the partnership is intended for reaching rapid consensus so as to enable all parties to benefit from it, for example, in the form of Guidelines, Recommendations and Best Practice Handbooks.
The authors express the hope that all major interests in the fields of educational, social and economic policy will contribute to this important initiative. This MoU is open for signature to all public and private organizations that share its aims and objectives and are willing to contribute to the work. This contribution can be in the form of direct MoU participation or in the form of creating awareness of the issues raised by the MoU and disseminating the MoU results.
The MoU should complement the activities of standardization bodies globally in the domain of learning technologies, content and services, especially with regard to their mandate to identify and draft standards for learning technologies.
II. WHAT IS A "MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING" AND WHAT DOES ITS SIGNATURE MEAN?
This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a formal expression, by all its signatories, of the importance of making progress at international levels in a wide spectrum of consensus building activities in support of University Education and Professional Development Globally and Equitably.
It will take the form of a cooperation framework signed by different categories of actors, coming from a range of organizations, both public and private, which have an interest in the deployment of e-universities and other applications of learning technologies, content and services:
The MoU is a voluntary agreement, entered into by organizations and companies prepared to be both pioneers and active participants in developing consensus on issues of common interest and providing human and financial resources. While there is no legal obligation to respect the agreements that emerge, the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding represents a public commitment to respect certain principles and to work towards specific common goals and consensus in specific areas.
This particular MoU implies the following public commitments:
The MoU therefore represents a combination of commitments that together will enable and accelerate coherent developments in globally-relevant education which no single organization, or even group of organizations, acting in isolation could achieve.
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III. THE SIGNATORIES
The signatories of the MoU can be classified into one of the following key groups of participants:
The Initial Signatories are those Signatories who will have their MoU signature page and registration form arriving at the MoU Secretariat on 30 October 2000 (tentative) at the latest. They have a right to participate in the electronic election of the first MoU Steering Committee and in other Signatory decision making which may take place before the MoU launch conference on 22 March 2001 (tentative).
MoU decision making procedures, including the voting procedure for the electronic election of the MoU Steering Committee, starting on 25 September 2000 (tentative), will be posted on the MoU website by 15 December 2000 (tentative).
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IV. THE STEERING COMMITTEE
A Steering Committee will be elected to guide the implementation of the MoU for the partnership of the Global University System. The committee will ideally consist of a balanced representation of the above-described key groups, and will consist of 20 members.
It is intended that - once established - the Steering Committee will be self governing and self-financing (which is to be determined by the board of the Global University System -- noted by Takeshi Utsumi). The voting procedure for the first electronic election, to be held starting (date TBD), will be posted by (date TBD) on the MoU website (which is to be announced later -- noted by Takeshi Utsumi).
For the purposes of this election and other electronic MoU decision making, the Signatories will announce the authorized e-mail address to be used for its electronic voting rights. This e-mail address will be sent to the MoU Secretariat in one of the ways given at the end of this MoU document for communicating with the MoU Secretariat. The registration form which can be used for providing this and other Signatory information can be obtained from the above-mentioned website.
A. The Terms of Reference of the Steering Committee:
To identify barriers to the implementation of globally-accessible education and e-universities and to organize exchange of information and creation of awareness to dismantle these barriers.
To develop an MoU strategy and to produce a rolling plan of action, covering at least six months ahead, with planned activities, expected outputs and significant milestones - and to monitor the implementation of the MoU.
To identify the need for Special Interest Groups and to direct and review the activities of Special Interest Groups as set up within the framework of the MoU.
To organize and review the integration of recommendations and draft agreements from Special Interest Groups into a coherent set of guidelines and, when appropriate, submit these guidelines to a standardization project.
To liaise with the services of the European Commission through the Chief of the European Regional Group of the Global University System in obtaining the widest possible public, professional, industrial and political endorsement of these guidelines.
To ensure that the activities of the signatories come to the attention of other key or emerging participants in this field, and endeavor to involve them in the process - ideally through the signature of the MoU.
To suggest proposals for changes to the MoU, for agreement (via plenary sessions or electronically) by MoU signatories.
To liaise with the standardization organizations, to interact on the definition of user requirements, and to consider the availability of standardization resources for activities initiated in response to MoU co operation priorities.
B. The Chair:
The chair is elected annually by the members of the Steering Committee. She/he shall:
C. Working Procedures:
The Steering Committee defines and agrees its own working procedures, schedules of meetings and agendas. It shall meet at least twice per year.
The Committee shall report after each meeting, to all signatories of the MoU, on achievements and agreements on an MoU website with agreement of the Chief of the European Regional Group of the Global University System.
All documents of the Committee - such as reports of Special Interest Groups, minutes of meetings, etc - shall be non-confidential and available to any interested party on an MoU website. In addition, any document which may be of general public interest, shall be actively disseminated.
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V. THE SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
Initially to be proposed by the Signatories and decided by the Steering Committee, after an electronic forum discussion, the Special Interest Groups should be structured around the key areas for cooperation within the MoU.
A. The Expected Output
The output from these Special Interest Groups could be in the form of:
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