The Inception Meeting of the "Implementing the Paris OER Declaration" project took place on 26 and 27 March, 2013 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, and brought together representatives of four partner countries, OER experts, and UNESCO Specialists to discuss the modalities of the project and agree on the schedule of activities. The four partner countries are: Bahrain, Indonesia, Kenya, and Oman.
After the adoption of the Paris OER Declaration in 2012, UNESCO proposed with all relevant stakeholders to design and implement a series of global activities based on all the 10 points of the Declaration. This project, with the financial support of the Hewlett Foundation, aims to assist Member States in:
- Developing national-level OER Policies, and
- Implementing the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT CFT) by harnessing Open Educational Resources (OER).
The purpose of the Inception Meeting was to review the project objectives, share ideas and practices about OER policies and discuss the best ways to implement the project in each country.
During the 2 – day meeting, participants discussed how project activities could support national policy goals. The value of supporting the inclusion of national OER policies in education system was underscored. Throughout the discussions, the benefit of making high quality educational resources available to use, modify and share to a larger number of people for education was highlighted.
Ms Zakiya Al Maani, from the Directorate General for Curricula Development in Oman declared: “A meeting like this one is very useful because we exchange experiences and have professional points of view.”
Meshaal Albardooli, Director a.i of the UNESCO Regional Centre for Information and Communication Technology (RCICT), Bahrain said: “We would like to become a model for other Arab States in the development of OER policies”.
During the first day, the representatives of the four countries presented their educational landscape and the particularities in terms of ICT in Education and Open Educational Resources. They then worked together with UNESCO specialists to prepare the implementation plan to develop national OER policies, by defining the needs, the relevant national key-actors to dialogue with, and on which component and level of education to focus on. Indonesia for example decided to focus on teachers training, using OER.
“It is an excellent opportunity for us to share what we are doing, and in the same time to learn from others”, concluded Pak Nizam and Pak Ari Santoso, from the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture
The Meeting also featured contributions from OER experts and potential partner organizations such as:
- Creative Commons
- Commonwealth of Learning
- Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF)
- UNESCO Category 2 Regional Center for ICT, Bahrain
Key partners in the project will be the associated UNESCO Field Offices and the Meeting featured strategic inputs from:
- UNESCO Bangkok
- UNESCO Jakarta
- UNESCO Nairobi
- UNESCO Kingston
This very meaningful meeting ended up with clear workplans and outlines for each country. The next step of this initiative is the organization of national workshops in June 2013.