African countries to develop national policies to adopt Open Educational Resources

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© UNESCO

UNESCO organized a two-day regional seminar to spearhead the development and implementation of Open Educational Resources (OER) policies for Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Ethiopia and Djibouti in Nairobi Kenya on 23-24 November 2015

The regional seminar aimed at ensuring the various member states understand the potentials of OER to achieve Education 2030 and harness policies towards its implementation. OERs are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that are freely available in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits adaptation and redistribution.  

The seminar drew 31 participants from Ministries of Education, educational institutes, private and public universities and Creative Commons Africa. 

Speaking at the opening the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education Science and Technology Hon. Jacob Kaimenyi said: “This seminar on Open Educational Resources for target African Countries is very important  for the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, given that, the Ministry recognizes the potential OERs hold to widen  access education at all levels, both formal and non-formal in a perspective of lifelong learning and to Improve both cost-efficiency and quality of teaching and learning outcomes. I sincerely thank UNESCO, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Kenya National Commission for UNESCO and all stakeholders for setting the ball rolling on matters related to OERs in Kenya.”

Participants were taken through procedures on acquiring open licenses by the speaker from Creative Commons for Africa.  He explained the role that Creative Commons plays in ensuring open access to educational resources and highlighted the School of Open Africa initiative that provides for a transformative model of learning.   

As Kenya is one of the countries that benefitted from UNESCO support in drafting policy statements on OERs, the national team for OER of the Ministry of Education Science and Technology took participants through the Kenya OER policy statements that the Government of Kenya, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is committed to opening access to educational materials produced with Government funds. The statements address issues related to Intellectual Property Rights and Licensing, leadership and management, professional development and ICT infrastructure and deployment.

Based on the framework for the development of OER policies and the global lessons on the implementation of OER policies and initiatives provided by specialists of UNESCO,   participants were able to start the process of drafting OER policies for their respective countries and also made presentations of the same.

This activity is a direct follow-up to the Paris Declaration on OERs calling on governments to openly license all educational materials produced with public funds. Supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (USA), UNESCO is working with several governments to implement dynamic and relevant policies to guide and recognize teachers and learners to find, adapt, use, develop and share Open Educational Resources.