UNESCO supports launch of Colombian Open Educational Resources Strategy
On 25 October, in Bogotá, the Colombian government launched its National Strategy for Digital Open Educational Resources (OER), which aims to strengthen and bolster the production, management and usage of OER in higher education institutions.
The Minister for Education, Ms María Fernanda Campo, took the opportunity to underscore Colombia’s commitment to the development and usage of such resources.
“The actions that the Ministry of Education is taking to improve national technological infrastructure services and conditions, and to promote its usage and participation by all levels of education communities, fall within the broader goal that we set ourselves at the beginning of this administration: to transform the quality of education,” said Ms Fernanda Campo.
As a demonstration of this commitment, the Minister delivered a letter of intent to the UNESCO representative present, Ms Victoria Uranga, regarding the UNESCO Paris OER Declaration, which was approved in Paris in June.
Ms Uranga, who is the Knowledge Management Services Coordinator at OREALC/UNESCO Santiago, highlighted Colombia’s digital educational resources strategy as a beacon and as an invitation to other Latin American countries to continue to join forces in favour of quality education.
In the words of Mr Juan Carlos Bernal, an advisor at the Colombian Education Ministry’s Office for Educational Innovation with Usage of New Technologies, key features of the Colombian OER Strategy include “the creation of a national open digital educational resource system, with the participation and collaboration of Colombian education communities, and harmonises national and institutional policies, while establishing conditions that guarantee adequate resource and service provision.”
Another success lies in the collaborative work between different institutions that underlies the creation of a number of the strategy’s components. These contributions were made by academics at nine public and private universities, where work in this area has been underway for some years, under the leadership of the Colombian Ministry of Education.
Andrés Chiappe, an academic in the Education IT Masters’ Programme at the Universidad de La Sabana, said that “this initiative still faces major challenges, which could become fundamental factors for it to succeed. Among them, that the open digital education resource arbitration processes must be effectively articulated with open indexing processes for institutional information repositories under the CNA’s institutional accreditation processes, granting them a strategic status that can easily be applied to universities’ self evaluation processes and development plans.”
Members of civil society also expressed their satisfaction with the OER strategy, while also mentioning challenges inherent in the task at hand.
Carolina Botero, co-leader of Creative Commons Colombia and a member of the Fundación Karisma, said, “We at the Fundación Karisma have been following - and at times assisting - specific aspects of the design of public policy regarding digital educational material, so it is a great pleasure for us to see the launch of the document that officially sets Colombia on a course to open up this sector. In recognition of this effort, we have to accept that up until now the guiding concept behind it has been public access and promoting open knowledge, so the major challenge that the government is now facing is to mobilise the commitments made in the Paris Declaration and make the leap between public and open.”
The Colombian Ministry of Education also launched the “Recursos Educativos Abiertos” book at the event.