In response to the massive disruption of education due to the Covid-19 pandemic affecting 1.57 billion learners in 191 countries, UNESCO has issued a Call to support learning and knowledge sharing through Open Educational Resources (OER) worldwide.
OER are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright released under an open license, permitting no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others. In November 2019, Member States adopted a Recommendation on OER at UNESCO’s General Conference, committing to promote their use for the open sharing of knowledge and learning.
“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,” reads the call, co-signed by Moez Chakchouk and Stefania Giannini, respectively Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, and for Education at UNESCO. “Our joint action aims at managing the challenges of this and future pandemic crisis’ for learners, as well as to laying the foundation for integrating systematically best practices to increase the sharing of knowledge for the post-Covid-19 future of learning.”
The Call encourages implementation of the OER Recommendation, which identifies actions in five main areas: Capacity building and use of OER; Developing supportive policy; effective, inclusive and equitable access to quality OER; Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER; fostering and facilitating international cooperation.
This Call highlights the important role of the recently launched Covid-19 Global Education Coalition and the Dynamic OER Coalition, a multi-stakeholder group dedicated to sharing expertise, to facilitate and support joint actions.