The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented challenges to our safety, health and education. According to statistics published by UNESCO on 17 May, 1.21 billion students and children could not still go back to school, accounting for 69.3% of the world’s student population. The global education community continues to face the major challenge of providing interactive and motivating educational experience during school and university closure. In this special situation, Open Educational Resources (OER) have never been so urgently and broadly needed like today. As emphasized in the joint statement by Mrs. Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education and Mr. Moez Chakchouk, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information:
Today we are at a pivotal moment in history. The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a paradigm shift on how learners of all ages, worldwide, can access learning. It is therefore more than ever essential that the global community comes together now to foster universal access to information and knowledge through OER.
At this critical moment, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) and the UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (UNESCO INRULED) release a new publication “Guidance on Open Educational Practices during School Closures: Utilizing OER under COVID-19 Pandemic in line with UNESCO OER Recommendation” together with global partners. This publication is motivated and inspired by the UNESCO OER Recommendation and the innovative experiences worldwide. It aims to show the implications of using Open Educational Practices (OEP) and Open Educational Resources (OER) on learning outcomes. Particularly, it describes, through illustrative examples, innovative approaches to using OEP and OER worldwide during COVID-19 outbreak. These experiences are in line with the UNESCO OER Recommendation for five areas, namely:
- Building capacity of stakeholders to create access, use, adapt and redistribute OER;
- Developing supportive policy;
- Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER;
- Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER;
- Facilitating international cooperation.