Bishkek Resolution on OER and Digital Education

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: , , ,

June 23, 2014

The International Conference, “Open Educational Resources (OER) and Digital Education” organized by the Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan and Public Fund “Roza Otunbayeva’s Initiative”, was dedicated to the advancement of open education and free access to knowledge in the countries of Central Asia and Mongolia. It served as a platform to share experience and ideas between the state sector, educational community, civil society activists, and international experts in OER policies.
The Conference introduced the world’s best practices on OER adoption, participating countries’ successful policies aimed at the development of the digital educational content and free access thereto, outstanding innovative approaches to the introduction of electronic textbooks, and other ingenious methods to improve access to education.
The main objective of the Conference was to present the Draft National OER Concept of Kyrgyzstan as a core policy to optimize the use of budget and donor funds intended for the development of modern teaching methods, and create conditions for free distribution of educational materials and unimpeded use thereof by third parties.
The conference was attended by representatives of the state sector, educational community, civil society activists, and OER policy experts from Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, the Republic of Poland, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, USA and South Africa.

The Conference focused on the following:

  • International experience in OER adoption (best policies and initiatives);
  • Innovative practices for the implementation of OER and the development of the digital educational content;
  • Presentation of Draft National OER Concept of Kyrgyzstan.

The Conference established the following general strategic objectives for the development and promotion of OER in the region:

  1. Foster strategic alliances and advance the institutionalization of OER promotion through the establishment of OER Coalition; contribute to the sustainable work of the Coalition through building partnerships between governmental and non-governmental organizations, the educational sector, library science, media and telecommunications;
  2. Implement the objectives of the OER Concept by developing of Action Plan and promoting collaboration with representatives of legislative and executive authorities, educational and research institutions, scientists and experts, NGOs and the business community of Kyrgyzstan;
  3. Consolidate government, donor and commercial resources of the Central Asian region for planning and implementing joint international educational, research and other initiatives to actively promote the OER policy in terms of liberalization of educational content;
  4. Ensure information exchange between organizations and activists to promote OER through a single information source as an official website, the use of social networks, and email subscribe list on OER in the region.

The following tasks were approved as priority measures based on the general objectives above:

1.  Establish the OER Coalition, a single expert platform, consisting of civil society activists, NGOs, educational institutions, and donor organizations to promote and implement the OER Concept with functions of information exchange, development and harmonization of policies, formulation and promotion of the OER Concept Action Plan;

2. Conduct an awarness rainsing and capacity building activitties (conferences, round tables, training, education and research initiatives) to stimulate active participation by all stakeholders in efforts to promote OER, recruit active members into the Coalition; publish and widely disseminate the results of this Conference in the media and the Internet for communication and promotion of OER initiatives;

3.  Direct the existing Working Group on the National OER Concept to:

– Finalize the Draft OER Concept taking into account suggestions and comments made at the Conference, organize a series of discussions of this document with all stakeholders;
– Develop an Action Plan for the implementation of the OER Concept;
– Develop the necessary draft amendments to laws and regulations (if it is included into the Action Plan) to accelerate the creation of the legislative framework for the introduction and promotion of OER;

4. Direct the Coalition for Open Education assisted by the Working Group to submit recommendations and proposals to:

– Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) – to accelerate the adoption of new policies on open licensing of educational materials produced at the expense of the state budget;

– Government of the Kyrgyz Republic – to promote an enabling environment for the implementation of OER based on interagency collaboration (Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Culture and Information, Ministry of Youth, Labour and Migration, etc.), and contribute to the rapid establishment of the National Repository of OER at the National Library;

– Ministry of Education and Science and its structural units and institutions – to include the OER policies into the Action Plan of Education Reform Strategy in the Kyrgyz Republic for 2014-2017 to stimulate the development of high quality OER, including digital learning materials (creating a center for digital competencies); ensure training and professional development of teachers and other personnel in production and sharing of high quality and affordable educational resources, taking into account local needs and a wide variety of students;

– Authors and publishers, copyright holders of state certified training materials, – to join the OER initiative and possibly revise the licensing conditions in order to ensure free access to these materials;

– Donor and international agencies – to provide comprehensive support for the OER initiative, and introduce intra-institutional policies on open licensing of products developed at their initiative;

– Mobile operators – to provide free mobile internet traffic to access the National Repository of OER as part of their corporate social responsibility programs, private entities – to support the production and dissemination of electronic textbooks among educational institutions and equip students with tablets.

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National Mission on Education Through ICT (NMEICT) Open Licensing Policy

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: , , ,

“Train 10 thousand teachers” is a major initiative under the NMEICT, in which IIT Kharagpur and IIT Bombay are working as partner institutes to improve the teaching skills of engineering college teachers of the country in core Engineering and Science subjects.

In order to “foster an environment of openness, collaboration, and a culture of sharing, reuse and adaptation” NMEICT endorses the “release of learning resources, software, and technology in an appropriate licence”.

Thus, all projects funded by NMEICT must treat their output as national resources which are freely accessible online.  Moral rights remain with authors, but copyright is transferred to the Indian government to allow for open release.

Within this framework different projects have elected for different licences.  The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) for instance uses CC-BY-NC-SA while the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NEOER) uses CC-BY-SA.

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US Open Data Action Plan

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: , , ,

The US government has further endorsed steps towards the open publication of public data with the  Open Data Access Plan (2014).  This includes new data releases for small business data, digitized museum collections, and data from the Food and Drug Administration.

Over the past few years, the Administration has launched a number of Open Data Initiatives aimed at scaling up open data efforts across the Health, Energy, Climate, Education, Finance, Public Safety, and Global Developmentsectors.  The White House has also launched Project Open Data, designed to share best practices, examples, and software code to assist Federal agencies with opening data.  These efforts have helped unlock troves of valuable data—that taxpayers have already paid for—and are making these resources more open and accessible to innovators and the public.

As Timothy Vollmer notes over at Creative Commons:

From a legal standpoint, some agencies have decided to place their datasets into the worldwide public domain using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication. This means that all copyright and related rights to the data are waived, so it may be used by anyone–for any purpose–anywhere in the world–without having to ask permission in advance–and even without needing to give attribution to the author of the data.

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National Education Technology Plan 2010 (NETP)

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: , , ,

The National Education Technology Plan 2010 (NETP) makes specific mention of the current and future value of OER, recognizing that the state has a role in “expanding the availability of digital-learning content, resources, courses, and tools and ensure their continuous improvement by funding the research and development of open educational resources”.

4.3 Support the development and use of open educational resources to promote innovative and creative opportunities for all learners and accelerate the development and adoption of new open technology-based learning tools and courses.

The value of open educational resources is now recognized around the world, leading to the availability of a vast array of learning, teaching, and research resources that learners of any age can use across all content areas. Realizing this value will require new policies concerning the evaluation and selection of instructional materials so that digital resources are considered and processes are established for keeping educational resource content up to date, appropriate, and tagged according to identified content interoperability standards.

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Reasons for OER choice, OER4Adults supplementary poll

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER choice | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

Isobel Falconer, Allison Littlejohn, Lou McGill, Eleni Boursinou are the authors of the OER4Adults report.  As part of supplementary research for this project the team commissioned an open survey of lifelong learners and adult educators to gather data on indicators for selecting OER.

The results suggest that lifelong learners and adult educators find free (no cost) resources using  Google (100%), online repositories such as flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia (70%), repositories of learning resources (25%) or asking a friend (25%) […]

In quality terms, their primary reason for choosing a resource is that it comes from an organisation they trust (65%), or that it comes near the top of the search engine results (53%); only 27% were directed to resources by a teacher. For only 30% is viewing the resource and evaluating its quality a major criterion, suggesting that organisational brand is more important in learner choice than is the quality of particular resources.

Finding OER
‘How do you discover learning materials? Select the 3 most important’ (n=86)
'Which of these influences your choice of learning materials?'
‘Which of these influences your choice of learning materials?’ (n=86)



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Impact of CC licensing, North American Network of Science Labs Online

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Openness | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

A case study of The North American Network of Science Labs Online (NANSLO) published by Creative Commons identifies a number of ways in which open licensing makes a difference to sharing:

Open licensing has made it easier to get partnerships on the road,” said Albert Balbon, Supervisor of Distributed Learning, North Island College, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, and one of the NANSLO leadership team. “There are no roadblocks to us sharing, and nothing stopping other institutions from joining us and feeling more a part of the overall project.

A persistent barrier for low-income, first-generation college students has been cost. “One of the main benefits of open licensing is that we don’t have to pass any costs for licensing content to students,” said Albert. While some of the software is proprietary, all of the curriculum and code written by NANSLO to enable remote access to their servers is open and free.

Daniel Branan, from the Colorado Community College System and NANSLO Lab Director, agrees. “Having this project openly licensed as an upfront condition takes the stress off of all of us. It sets the stage nicely so that everyone knows that everything will be open for sharing. That lowers a lot of barriers.

According to Daniel, “All of the curriculum that references remote lab activities is licensed with a Creative Commons CC BY license. While we write it for our labs, it provides useful content that anyone can use for free.

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OER initiatives of the Portugeuse Ministry of Education and Science

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: , , ,

The following initiatives are OER initiatives of the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science are licensed under Creative Commons. Some of them are not pure OER, but all are designed to encourage open education and free sharing of resources .

  • Biblioteca Digital or Digital Library: conscious of the need to promote and make available to the educational community and the general public the content of their publications, DGIDC has developed a set of actions to make available in digital mode, the content of some of their collections, which research and consulting is accessible through its computerized catalog. The Digital Library is composed mainly by resources and edited by the DGIDC by General Directions that preceded it, and has as its main objective the provision of comprehensive works, for free reading.
  • Acordo Ortográfico (AO) or Orthographic Agreement: Space where to find documents about AO and pedagogical resources. It is available for teachers, students, families and the general public.
  • Internet or Safety Internet is a center that aims to take away from more and more the task to sensitize the Portuguese population to security issues on the Internet, hence striving to achieve a greater number of citizens. It is a space where to find documents, videos and other resources like quizzes about safe behaviors in the internet.
  • GEORED (Digital Educational Resources for Teaching Geography) is a collaborative project between the Association of Geography Teachers and the Department of Geography at the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning (IGOT) from Lisbon University and is funded by DGIDC. This is a site where digital resources are made available under a Creative Commons license; there are a range of educational resources for the development of geographic skills in the use of digital maps and Geographic Information Systems (GIS, SIG in portuguese).
  • Plano Nacional de Leitura (PNL) or National Reading Plan is a website were to find: New Readings – space to meet new books, authors and illustrators -; PNL BlogueBiblioteca de Livros Digitais or Library of Digital Books; Clube de Leituras or Reads Club – project that intends to help promote reading habits in Portugal (with available Ebooks ); Ler+ Dá Saúde or Read + Gives Health – involves professionals of health centers and hospitals in the counseling of family reading;Ler+ em família or Read + in family – about how can parents motivate children to read -;Ler+Escolas or Read + Schools – In this site can learn about the projects and initiatives launched by PNL as well as activities undertaken by schools under the Books and Reading; Caminho das Letras or Way of Letters – learning to read with use of modern multimedia systems -; Ler+Teatro or + Read Theatre – website devoted to the theatre and its connection to school-. PNL aims to raise literacy levels of the Portuguese so it links to other sites where can find an assortment of pedagogical resources like free books, free e-books, free videos, activity sheets among others.
  • eduSCRATCH: Project around the tool Scratch (a tool to create and share interactive stories, games, music anda art). Aimed at creating an educational community (portal Sctrach) and promoting the dissemination, training, support and sharing experiences using Scratch in educational contexts.

GAVE (Gabinete de Avaliação Educacional or Office of Educational Assessment) initiative:

  • Banco de Itens or Stock Items – with license CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 this database allows, among other features, to consult the available items to make ‘online’knowledge tests
  • Banco de Exames e Provas or Stock Exams and Tests – with license CC BY-NC-ND 2.5, this database is an archive of all assessment instruments designed within the mission of GAVE since 1997. This archive can be viewed and downloaded files relating to benchmarking tests, final exams and the exam papers at national level (basic education and secondary) and the intermediate tests.
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Norwegian government investment dependent on free student access

OECD Education Working Papers No. 76 reports that the government of Norway now insists on free sharing of publicly funded learning materials. (No mention of open licensing.)

Norway reports that the large government involvement in learning materials depends on the fact that both written and digital materials are free of charge to students in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education (International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 1 to 3).

Hylén, J. et al. (2012), “Open Educational Resources: Analysis of Responses to the OECD Country Questionnaire”, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 76,
OECD Publishing. pp.8-10

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Digital School, Greece

Type: Policy | Country: | Locale: | Sector: , , ,

The Digital School initiative by the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports, is the official repository of all the textbooks in the form of e-books for all levels of education (primary, secondary, upper secondary and professional education).

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World Bank Open Access Policy for Formal Publications

Since July 2012, the World Bank will “require open access under copyright licensing from Creative Commons—a non-profit organization whose copyright licenses are designed to accommodate the expanded access to information afforded by the Internet” .The default license to be used will be the CC-BY license, which allows anyone to copy, distribute, adopt, or make commercial use of the work, under the condition of attribution.

Text of the policy from

The World Bank supports the free online communication and exchange of knowledge as the most effective way of ensuring that the fruits of research, economic and sector work, and development practice are made widely available, read, and built upon. It is therefore committed to open access, which, for authors, enables the widest possible dissemination of their findings and, for readers, increases their ability to discover pertinent information. The Open Access Policy for Formal Publications establishes the Bank’s expectations relating to the public accessibility of knowledge resulting from (1) work carried out by Bank staff members as part of their official duties and (2) outside research funded by the Bank. For work carried out by Bank staff, the policy applies to manuscripts and all accompanying data sets (a) that result from research, analysis, economic and sector work, or development practice; (b) that have undergone peer review or have been otherwise vetted and approved for release to the public; and (c) for which internal approval for release is given on or after July 1, 2012. For external research funded by the Bank, for which funding was approved on or after July 1, 2012, the policy applies to the final report provided by the researchers to the funding unit within the Bank. The Bank owns the rights to this work, as stipulated in paragraph 3.2 of the Principles of Staff Employment, unless it has chosen to relinquish those rights. External research funded through trust funds that are administered by the Bank are subject to the rules of the trust fund.

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