The Prime Minister’s Office has initiated a program for the use of free digital textbooks under Creative Commons License in the polish schools.
The government has endorsed the value of open education in today’s digital society: Their digital school program, the largest government-sponsored open education program in Polish history, has created a full set of educational materials for grades 4-6 licensed under cc-by license (the fully free creative commons license).
The “Digital School” program with the “Digital Textbooks” component was initially drafted and proposed to the Prime Minister Office by the Modern Poland Foundation, the Center for Civic Education, and Creative Commons Poland (with the cooperation of the Prime Minister’s Office). All those organisations are members of the Coalition for Open Education (KOED), a network of NGOs and educational institutions promoting open education in Poland.
One of the most ambitious features was the creation of a national repository of training materials. Teachers in all of the test schools will have access to this nationwide database.
The first draft was accepted by the Ministry of Education, but at a later stage of the negotiations, the free licensing requirement was left out. Both the Coalition for Open Education and the Modern Poland Foundation took part in the public consultation process; their comments in support of free licensing were agreed and accepted.
As a result of the adopted regulation, schools will be computerized and all educational materials for grades 4-6 will have a Creative Commons license (CC BY 3.0) to allow for easy sharing and attribution. By accepting the regulation and now also accepting the materials, polish schools will soon be fully adopting the open education model.
The textbooks are available under the Creative Commons Attribution license, in an open format (with the full specification being freely available both technically and legally), and for Web access as required by the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. so far, it appears that the only non-accessible material may be some of the images, which contain embedded text and thus may be inaccessible to blind students.
The initiative is a success for the KOED movement, ending several years of hard work.