Developing the Kenya National OER Policy for achieving Education for All
UNESCO and the Kenya Ministry of Education organized a Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, to formulate the draft Policy on Open Educational Resources for achieving high-quality Education for All. Over 35 delegates attended the two-day Workshop on 28 and 29 January 2014 to listen to presentations and exchange views on OER, the applicability of existing intellectual property laws in Kenya, and the positioning of OERs within existing policies for ICT in Education, and the National ICT Master Plan.
Defined as any type of educational materials in the public domain, or released with an open license allowing free use, adaptation, and distribution, Open Educational Resources (OERs) present Ministries of Education and educational institutions with a strategic opportunity to increase the quality of educational materials and using ICT to increase access to high-quality education especially for disadvantaged groups.
The objectives of the two-day Workshop held at the historic Stanley Sarova Hotel and facilitated by the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO were to:
- raise awareness on harnessing potentials of OER policies in Kenya;
- facilitate the understanding of OERs within existing ICT and education policy documents;
- draft a new OER policy statement that is aligned with:
- the Sessional Paper No 14 of 2012: Reforming Education and Training Sectors in Kenya Chapter 7: Information and Communication Technology, Open and Distance Learning in Education and Training,
- (updated) ICT Strategy Ministry of Education, and
- (updated) National ICT Master Plan Ministry of ICT
Mr Abel Caine, UNESCO Programme Specialist for Open Educational Resources, and Mr Jaco Du Toit, Adviser for Communication and Information at the UNESCO Office in Nairobi, presented the UNESCO OER Programme highlighting the Paris OER Declaration and the UNESCO - Hewlett OER Project to develop national-level OER policies in five countries, including Kenya, by 2014.
Mr Alex Gakuru, from Creative Commons Africa, presented the national legal framework for intellectual property rights highlighting many relevant provisions from the Constitution promulgated in 2010.
Mr Kwame Shiroya, from the ICT Authority, presented the scope and schedule for the new National ICT Master Plan due to be implemented by June 2014.
Ms Cecilia Wakahiu, from the Kenya Ministry of Education ICT Directorate, presented the existing 2006 ICT in Education Plan, the 2012 Sessional Paper on Education, and the new areas to be included in the revised ICT in Education Plan.
The Workshop resulted in the development of the comprehensive draft National OER Policy focussing on key-entry points aligned to the Sessional Paper including:
- Intellectual Property Rights and Licensing;
- Leadership and management;
- Skills/Knowledge for policy advisors, Quality Assurance Policy Guidelines;
- Professional Development (Human Resource Policy);
- Curriculum and Assessment (Curriculum Design/Materials Development, Sourcing (procuring) content, Costs, File Formats);
- ICT Infrastructure and Deployment (ICT Infrastructure and Connectivity);
- Marginalized and Vulnerable Groups.
The draft was discussed by the OER Policy Committee and formulated a Work Plan with time-frames and further actions until the Policy is officially approved by the Kenya Minister of Education.
Ms Shelmith Wanjohi, lead coordinator for the OER Policy Committee responsible for drafting the Policy was very pleased by the draft Policy and Work Plan. “Within the new Kenya Constitution and Kenya Vision 2030, the OER Policy will set a clear path for using OERs to achieve universal access to high quality education for all Kenyans.”
The Committee estimates the Kenya OER Policy will be ready by September 2014 and will join other countries including Oman, Indonesia, and Senegal in utilising OERs for Education for All.