The Open University (OU) has a mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. We promote educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality education to all who wish to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential. The provision of accessible education for all is something that David Dangoor and his family, through Dangoor Education, have passionately supported for many years. The family believe that education is vital, and, like the OU, they believe that where you start in life should not determine where you end up. Thanks to the support of Dangoor Education, we are able to continue to provide, and expand the range of educational resources that we offer, to give anybody the tools to achieve success.
The OpenLearn courses supported by Dangoor Education include:
Dangoor Education is part of the philanthropy of The Exilarch’s Foundation. The Foundation was set up in 1978 by Sir Naim Dangoor to promote education and Jewish causes. Sir Naim moved his family to Britain in 1960, when life for Jews became difficult in their home country of Iraq. Sir Naim had previously studied engineering at the University of London before setting up successful businesses in Iraq. In order to give others the gift of education, something the Dangoor family believe enabled them to start a new life in Britain, the Foundation has made supporting education a focus of their work.
In 2004, the Foundation created the Dangoor Scholarships which offered £1,000 to individuals applying to university who had no family history of higher education. After this £1 million scholarships programme, the Foundation created the Eliahou Dangoor Scholarships which were named after Sir Naim Dangoor’s father. This fund sponsored 4,000 students applying to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) and invested £4 million into higher education, with further matched funding from the Government.
The Foundation has made many other philanthropic gifts in the realms of education and healthcare. The commitment to education is demonstrated by Dangoor Education’s sponsorship of the Westminster Academy and most recently, the Foundation has, among other things, provided £5 million to enable Imperial College London to set up a world-leading cancer research centre.
dangooreducation.com has links to many of the projects that Dangoor Education has sponsored.
David Dangoor studied physics at Imperial College London before working as a systems analyst for IBM. He has been a long-term supporter of the OU, and this support is demonstrative of David’s transformative and forward-thinking attitude towards education, providing chances for people – regardless of faith, location or background – to better themselves through the power of education.
David’s philanthropic mission is much broader, however, and he is personally involved in UK–Israeli relations and the efforts of the Jewish community, both from Iraq and in the UK, having been entrusted with the role of Chair of the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London’s Faith Council. He is also the promoter and funder of the UK Israel Dangoor Health Initiative, a collaborative health accelerator programme aimed at connecting Israeli start-ups in the digital health field with the UK’s NHS. These examples, and multiple others, showcase David’s relentless mission of cross-border collaborative working for the benefit of others less fortunate than himself.
There is no doubt that through The Exilarch’s Foundation, David and his family will go on to transform the lives of thousands more individuals and enhance the education landscape for years to come. The OU will always be grateful for the support that he has given us and our learners.
Below are some of the projects kindly supported by Dangoor Education:
The Informal to Formal Accelerator Project
In 2013, David committed support of over £1 million towards the OU’s Informal to Formal Accelerator project. This revolutionary gift enabled the OU to be at the forefront of the provision of STEM MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). The OU founded the first UK-based MOOC platform, FutureLearn, in 2013. Thanks to David’s support, the OU was able to produce some of the first and most sophisticated MOOCs for the public through this brand new platform.
FutureLearn offers a range of MOOCs which start and end at set times. This format allows courses to be overseen by mentors and for course participants to share their progress through the course with fellow learners. The MOOCs Dangoor Education have funded are:
- Basic Science: Understanding Numbers
- Basic Science: Understanding Experiments
- Introduction to Ecosystems
- Histology: Using Microscopy to Study Anatomy and Identify Disease
- In the Night Sky: Orion
- The Science of Nuclear Energy
- The Science of Nutrition
- Elements of Renewable Energy
Each MOOC has also been syndicated onto the OpenLearn platform, ensuring that as many people as possible can enjoy learning from this library of courses.
In 2015, the OU created badged courses, which give learners the option to earn a digital badge on completion, in order to demonstrate their learning journey. The Dangoor Education courses on OpenLearn include some of the first badged courses, and these can be found in the list at the top of this page. In addition, the following courses are currently in production (click the links to learn a little more):
- Could we control our climate?
- Astronomy with an online telescope
- Citizen science and global biodiversity
As of October 2018, the Dangoor Education resources had reached over 390,000 learners.
Flexible Learning Fund
In 2018, Dangoor Education generously supported the OU’s application to the Government’s Flexible Learning Fund, a new £11.7 million fund investing in a range of projects to help more adults back into the classroom. The Flexible Learning Fund supports 32 innovative projects across England to encourage more people to take part in new training or courses that will help them progress in current employment or secure a new job. Projects are aimed at a range of skill levels, from teaching beginners, all the way through to those who already have a good understanding of a topic. As one of the 32 successful projects, The Open University is working with three regional further education colleges, community partners including Unison and WEA as well as Dangoor Education, Reed Recruitment and Impetus to help people develop their skills in English and maths through access to free online and for-fee college-based, blended learning approaches.
What we cannot know – Marcus du Sautoy
In 2018, Dangoor Education kindly agreed to support the creation of a new badged course on OpenLearn, based on the book What we cannot know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge, by OU Honorary Graduate, Professor Marcus du Sautoy. Professor du Sautoy, who is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, as well as a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, is renowned for his efforts in popularising mathematics. His book investigates how leading experts in fields from quantum physics and cosmology, to sensory perception and neuroscience, have articulated the current understanding in science. The book squares up to seven ‘edges’ of human knowledge, topics that range from the nature of time to the mysteries of human consciousness, to probe whether there is anything we truly cannot know.
The course is currently in production and is planned for release on OpenLearn in 2019.