The second World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress closed today as experts and national delegates from 111 countries adopted by acclamation the 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan.
The 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan presents 41 recommended actions to mainstream open-licensed resources to help all Member States to build Knowledge Societies and achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 4 on “quality and lifelong education.”
The accompanying Ministerial Statement1 called for a “dynamic coalition to expand and consolidate commitments to actions, strategies and legislation” in OER, with a “call on all educational stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the Ljubljana OER Action Plan 2017.”
OER refer to any teaching, learning and research materials that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution with no or limited restrictions. While offering education systems a greater flexibility to use, share and adapt quality resources, OER rest within the framework of intellectual property rights and fully acknowledge authorship.
The 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan provides recommendations to stakeholders in five strategic areas, namely: building the capacity of users to find, re-use, create and share OER; language and cultural issues; ensuring inclusive and equitable access to quality OER; developing sustainability models; and developing supportive policy environments.
“This has been the most widespread consultation undertaken at UNESCO that I have witnessed,” noted Indrajit Banerjee, Director of UNESCO’s Knowledge Societies Division, Communication and Information Sector, as he introduced the 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan for formal adoption by acclamation.
He noted that the Ljubljana Action Plan is the product of an extensive regional, global and online stakeholder consultation that had incorporated major inputs from:
- Recommendations compiled at six OER regional consultations2 attended by OER experts and policy makers from more than 100 countries, organized from December 2016 to May 2017 by the Commonwealth of Learning in cooperation with UNESCO, through the generous support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
- An open, online consultation on the draft Action Plan held from July to September 2017 incorporating more than 100 additional inputs and feedback from UNESCO Member States and the global OER community.
- Key recommendations from the sessions and debates of the 2nd World OER Congress, 18-20 September, compiled through a high-level drafting group chaired by the president of the Congress, governmental representatives of each region, non-governmental and civil society stakeholder groups including teacher and student representatives, as well as the UNESCO secretariat and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of Slovenia.
The Action Plan invites multi-stakeholder commitments at local, national and international levels around the five strategic areas. Invited to the OER Congress and addressed within the Action Plan are: educators, teacher trainers, librarians, learners, parents, educational policy makers at both the governmental and institutional level, teacher and other professional associations, student associations, teacher and student unions as well as other members of civil society, and intergovernmental organizations and funding bodies.
In his closing remarks, UNESCO Assistant Director for Education Qian Tang urged that UNESCO be seen as “your partner in a joint effort to use OER to push the SDG agenda in the next 15 years, and in the end to provide education for a new generation who will grow up as global citizens, appreciate other cultures and can build a more peaceful world.”
The Assistant Director-General added that: “to meet the education challenges, we can’t use the traditional way. In remote and developing areas, particularly for girls and women, OER are a crucial, crucial mean to reach SDGs. OER are the key.”
“What I am proud of is the comprehensive OER Action Plan. We truly believe in the Action Plan and plan to not only support it but be true actors in implementing,” said Dr Maja Makovec Brenčič, Minister of Education, Sciences and Sport of Slovenia, in her closing remarks to the Congress. “This Action Plan can be a great background for a UNESCO Recommendation on OER which is our final goal.”
1. endorsed by 20 Ministers and their designated representatives of Bangladesh, Barbados, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Croatia, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lithuania, Malta, Mauritius, Mauritania, Mozambique, Palestine, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
2. Hosted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Asia Regional Consultation, 1-2 December 2016); Valletta, Malta (Europe Regional Consultation, 27– 28 February 2017); Doha, Qatar (Arab States Regional Consultation, 27-28 February 2017); Port Louis, Mauritius (Africa Regional Consultation, 2-3 March 2017); Sao Paulo, Brazil (Americas Regional Consultation, 3 – 4 April 2017); and Auckland, New Zealand (Pacific Regional Consultation 29 – 30 May 2017).