UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the Director of the Jožef Stefan Institute, Professor Jadran Lenarčič, signed an agreement establishing a UNESCO Chair on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning at the Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The signing ceremony took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, in the presence of the Chairholder, Dr Mitja Jermol and the Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Slovenia to UNESCO, H. E. Ms Veronika Stabej.
The Chair will serve to promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation on online learning for Open Educational Resources (OER) and open learning. It will facilitate collaboration between high-level, internationally-recognized researchers and teaching staff of the Institute and other institutions around the world.
Welcoming the establishment of this Chair the Director-General said: “We are very pleased to be expanding our cooperation in this forward-looking area that offers the opportunity to increase the quality of learning. This is essential in building knowledge-based societies.” She also commended Slovenia for being on the cutting edge in the field of open educational resources, with the recent establishment of the “Openingup Slovenia” initiative. The Director-General highlighted the importance of collaboration with other UNESCO Chairs and networks in the field, and encouraged the Chair to participate in UNESCO’s activities, including Mobile Learning Week in February 2015.
According to the new Chairholder, Dr Mitja Jermol, the Institute has been working on Open Educational Resources since 2001, pushed by the conviction that education needed a new approach. “We started a national initiative to set the country in the direction of open learning, from infrastructure to legislation, in order to make use of technologies for learning.”
The signing coincided with the holding at Headquarters of a UNESCO Chair Workshop on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning, organized with the Jožef Stefan Institute, the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO and the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Slovenia to UNESCO.