UNESCO IITE at the 2nd World Open Educational Resources Congress

On 18-20 September 2017 the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) took part in the 2nd World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress “OER for Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education: From Commitment to Action” organized in Ljubljana, Slovenia by UNESCO and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia in partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning, Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO, UNESCO Chair in Open Technologies for OER and Open Learning and Creative Commons with generous support of William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The objectives of the 2nd World OER Congress were:

  • To examine solutions to meeting the challenges of mainstreaming OER practices in education systems worldwide;
  • To showcase the world´s best practices in OER policies, initiatives and experts and
  • To provide recommendations for the mainstreaming of OER with links to best practices.

The experts and national delegates from 111 countries adopted by acclamation the 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan, which 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 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan provides recommendations in five strategic areas: 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.

The accompanying Ministerial Statement calling for a “dynamic coalition to expand and consolidate commitments to actions, strategies and legislation” in OER was 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.

To contribute to one of the 2nd World OER Congress objectives “showcasing the world’s best practices in OER policies and initiatives as well as OER experts”, UNESCO IITE organized a special session on OER in non-English-speaking countries as a satellite event of the Congress on 19 September. The session has become a platform for the exchange of opinions on the challenges and opportunities for the promotion and use of OER in non-English-speaking countries. The event programme included presentation of country case studies and panel discussion.

The agenda of the satellite event

Over 40 experts from Brazil, China, France, India, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Serbia and other countries took part in the session and actively discussed opportunities and challenges for OER in non-English-speaking countries. Upon listening to the country reports on the state-of-the-art of OER in five non-English-speaking countries (Poland, Germany, Norway, China and Brazil) and panel discussion on the challenges for OER in non-English-speaking countries, the participants of the event concluded that the following recommendations should be proposed for the final document of the Congress:

To promote cultural and linguistic diversity in the Member States, special measures should be taken to foster the production, sharing and use of OER in local languages other than English, including less used languages (LUL), through

  • Developing fonts and standards for smaller languages
  • Using liberal (open) licenses
  • Regional collaboration among repositories – establishment of a collaborative OER platform for non-English-speaking countries and LUL
  • Using AI for licensing, automatic translation and metadata coding of OER in non-English-speaking countries and LUL.

All panels and plenaries were recorded by VideoLectures. The recordings will be made available at the 2WOERC website http://www.oercongress.org/#.