Saide welcomes adoption of UNESCO Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER)

Saide and its 0ER Africa initiative welcomed the adoption of the UNESCO OER Recommendation (40 C/32) at the UNESCO 40th General Conference. The Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER) is aimed at supporting the development and sharing of open licence learning and teaching materials.

Saide’s Executive Director, Jenny Glennie, and Neil Butcher of Neil Butcher & Associates represented OER Africa in the processes leading up to the Recommendation. Neil participated in the formulation of the final draft of the Recommendations, presented to the UNESCO member states.

The UNESCO OER Recommendation draws from the outcomes of the Ljubljana OER Action Plan of 2017 that seek to promote the provision of information and knowledge as a critical element towards the achievement of the UN 2030 Development Agenda.

The OER Recommendation supports the creation, use, adaptation and redistribution of quality OER, and promotes the facilitation of international cooperation in this field. Additional objectives include the development of supportive policies and the creation of sustainable models for OER.

The UNESCO OER Recommendation focuses on five key objectives:

  • Building capacity of stakeholders to create access, use, adapt and redistribute OER
  • Developing a supportive policy
  • Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER
  • Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER and
  • Facilitating international cooperation.

UNESCO Recommendations are instruments through which “the General Conference formulates principles and norms for the international guidelines of a particular issue and invites the Member States to take necessary steps using legislature or other forms in conformity with the constitutional practice of each state”. These are norms which are not subject to ratification but which the Member States are invited to apply. The OER Recommendation is intended to influence the development of national laws and practices on open education resources.

The UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Mr Moez Chakchouk, noted that the OER Recommendation, “will contribute to the building of open and inclusive knowledge societies, and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

The final deliberations on the Recommendation were attended by 18 UNESCO Member States representing all the UNESCO world regions, and an NGO Observer.

The NGO observer delegation applauded UNESCO for the Recommendation and expressed support for its central role in the construction of open, inclusive and participatory Knowledge Societies.

The conference also launched the Dynamic Coalition that will work with member states and other stakeholders to expand and consolidate commitments and strategies in the area of OER. It will contribute to the promotion and reinforcement of international cooperation on the implementation of the Recommendation.

“I welcome the intersectoral cooperation around the Recommendation. It shows how two sectors can collaborate and support the Member States,” said Ms Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education.

Saide’s OER Africa will be developing a critical appraisal of the opportunities created by the Recommendation to share through this newsletter.