13.11.2018 - UNESCO Office in Beirut

UNESCO Beirut and partners hold a Training workshop on Open Educational Resources and ICT-CFT

© UNESCO

UNESCO believes that universal access to high quality education contributes to peace and sustainable social and economic development. Open Educational Resources (OER) provide a strategic opportunity to improve the quality of education and to ensure its inclusiveness. In fact, OER are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with intellectual property licenses that facilitate the free use, adaptation and distribution or resources. They hence facilitate knowledge-sharing and capacity-building, and contribute to the achievement of SDG4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

Against this backdrop, and in line with UNESCO’s ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT-CFT) which aims at helping countries to develop comprehensive national teacher ICT competency policies and standards, UNESCO Beirut organized on 12-13 November 2018 a training workshop on “OER and ICT-CFT”. The event, held at UNESCO Office in Beirut, was organized in partnership with the Arab Organization for Education, Culture and Science (ALECSO) and the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU). It gathered a group of teachers, trainers and experts in open educational resources.

Speaking at the opening session, Mr George Awad, Programme Specialist of Information & Communication at UNESCO Beirut, said: “The exchange of knowledge and information in various ways, particularly through information and communication technologies, is transforming economies and societies. UNESCO is working towards building inclusive knowledge societies and empowering communities by increasing opportunities for the use, preservation and exchange of information and knowledge in all its areas of action”.He added: “Knowledge societies must be built on four pillars: freedom of expression; universal access to information and knowledge; respect for cultural and linguistic diversity; and quality education for all. UNESCO is committed to building knowledge societies out of its conviction that universal access to information is a key factor in peace-building, sustainable economic development and intercultural dialogue”.Mr Awad highlighted that the training workshop is in line with “UNESCO's goal of promoting universal access to information through comprehensive and accessible solutions for all, as well as through innovative uses of ICT”.

Representing LNCU, Dr Claudia Abi Nader, member of the Executive Board of LNCU, started her speech by quoting the American writer Alvin Toffler, who said: “ The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”. Dr Abi Nader highlighted that: “In the era of globalization, it is no longer acceptable to break down human life into two periods: one period of education followed by another period of total dedication to work. Nowadays, life is about continuous learning”. Dr Abi Nader emphasized that : "Open educational resources are at the heart of the democratization of knowledge, as they destroy all geographical, temporal, social, religious, political and ideological barriers”.

As to Dr Mohammad Al Jamni, director of the Information and Communication department at ALECSO, he stated that: “OER enable everyone to access information and resources for free and without any cost, which evidently contributes to achieving SDG 4, in particular inclusive education”. Dr Al Jamni highlighted that this workshop “is part of a series of workshops launched by ALECSO to promote OER and the use of ICT in universities and schools across the Arab region".

For two days, participants were introduced through a series of interactive lectures and presentations, to OER, the benefits of integrating them into curricula and teaching methods, the means to search for them, design them, build them, develop them and install them in relevant platforms on the Internet. Participants were also introduced to UNESCO’s and ALECSO’s OER platforms.

Testifying of the added value of the workshop, Mr Akram Sabek, from the Center for Educational Research and Development (CRDP), said: “OER are a crucial tool for teaching and for research, as it allows free access to educationa material, while at the same time guaranteeing intellectual property rights. Through this workshop, we learnt how to use OER, not only how to access them, but also how to develop them by creating research and uploading it on online platforms. As a teacher and as director of the Teachers’ Education School (Dar Al Mouallimin), I will ensure to spread the knowledge I acquired about OER to my colleagues, pushing them to make use of OER”.

As to Ms Grace Sawwan, director of Educational Resources department at CRDP, she emphasized that: “Nowadays, we need to participate and collaborate in the production of information and knowledge, in order to reach the stage where we can innovate. This workshop was highly important as it introduced us to the tools of OER production and use; the workshop cannot be more timely, as we, at the CRDP, are currently developing a policy framework for the integration of OER into research and education, and we are working on the adoption of UNESCO’s ICT-CFT”.

At the end of the workshop, participants received a certificate issued by UNESCO and ALECSO.




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