23rd October, 2017
Four weeks on from the 2nd World Open Education (OER) Congress held in Ljubljana, Slovenia in mid September, the final declarations and action plan have been published, heralding new impetus to the aims of the OER movement.
There are five main outputs from the 2nd World OER Congress:
1. The Ljubljana OER Action Plan
At the WOERC, delegates adopted a global action plan on how to mainstream and make relevant use of OER. The 2017 Ljubljana OER Action Plan presents 41 recommendations to mainstream open-licensed resources to help all member states to build knowledge societies and achieve the UN 2030 sustainable development goal 4 on “quality and lifelong education.”
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.
Multiple stakeholder support is crucial for the implementation of the proposed actions and the declaration identifies them as including: 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.
The declaration realises that the support of decision makers at governmental and institutional levels is essential for the successful implementation of the Ljubljana OER Action Plan.
2. The Ministerial Statement
Ministers signed a statement and called for action in specific key areas to support the mainstreaming of OER and overcome adoption challenges. The statement emphasised the need for a “dynamic coalition to expand and consolidate commitments to actions, strategies and legislation” in OER, and called on all educational stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the Ljubljana OER Action Plan 2017.
The statement, endorsed by 20 ministers and their designated representatives, noted that in order for …”OER to reach its full transformative potential for supporting the realization of SDG 4, OER needs to be more integrally a part of educational policies and practices from early childhood education to post-secondary, technical vocational educational training, higher education, lifelong learning and teacher training”.
3. The Dynamic Coalition on OER
The Slovenian Government designed a placeholder and think tank of nations to share OER knowledge to speed-up the solutions to challenges. The Congress had opened discussion around the formation of a Dynamic Coalition of National Governments in OER and Open Education to propose, construct and operate a dynamic coalition of countries devoted to research, develop, deploy and exchange OER and Open Education solutions, practices and policies.
It is expected that this government-led Coalition will bring together Member States, companies, social partners, civil society, non-profit organisations, education providers, teachers, learners, and experts, who take action to tackle the mainstreaming of OER globally.
4. The Slovenian Case in OER – From Commitment to Action
The Slovenian government implemented OER and open education into its educational system in order to exploit its potential and lead by example. With the aim of showcasing examples of OER policy in action, Slovenia has identified five major areas across all fields of education: 1) policy actions; 2) capacity building; 3) services and content; 4) research and development; and 5) supportive environments. Work on these ‘exemplars’ has just begun and further information is available on the dedicated website Opening Up Slovenia.
5. Global technical infrastructure for OER
First steps were taken towards implementing the Ljubljana Action Plan by connecting all OER sites and deploying artificial intelligence services to create value.
The Congress also hosted the kickoff of the European Commission funded project X5gon: Cross Modal, Cross Cultural, Cross Lingual, Cross Domain, and Cross Site Global OER Network, featuring two UNESCO OER Chairs and the Slovenian government as partner.
The project promises to deliver the first building blocks for an open and artificial intelligence powered infrastructure to easily connect all global OER sites/silos and provide a digestion pipeline for understanding content including by th use of machine translation, reasoning, recommendation, automatic curation, personalisation and aggregation of OER.
It will result in providing technology services benefiting teachers, learners, researchers, policy makers and technologists.
All speeches and presentations from the 2nd World OER Congress are available online here.
Full documents relating to each of the outcomes above are also available for download on the OER Congress website.
Details of various satellite events will also be published in the coming weeks on the OER Congress website.