Fostering development of inclusive, accessible and multilingual open educational resources globally
Ensuring gender – sensitive and accessible OER
To address the digital divide in Francophone Africa, the Francophonie Institution for Education and Training (IFEF) of the Organiation International de la Francophonie (OIF) provides OER in online and offline modes, and the development of OER national languages. In addition, IFFEF, recognizing the need for skills to use access, re-use, re-purpose, adapt and redistribute OER, has developed a digital competency training package. Dr Mona Laroussi, Director of IFEF also presented IFEF’s digital competency training on how to use OER.
Multilingualism as a condition sine qua non for enhancing accessibility and inclusion of OER
While English remains the most prevalent language on the Internet, in order to be culturally and linguistically relevant OER needs to be available in local languages, including those that are less-used, under-resourced and endangered such as indigenous languages.
The International Decade of Indigenous Languages 20222 – 2032 reflects this call for the mobilization of stakeholders to preserve, revitalize and promote the use of Indigenous languages.
Accessibility of OER as a game changer for People with Disability
Accessibility of learning resources for persons with disabilities is inherently enhanced in OER, as open licensing allows for educational materials to be more effectively shared, re-purposed and adapted. This, Dr Dianne Chambers, Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame, Australia, emphasized is a game changer, as it facilitates educational content development for all leaners.
The barriers to accessible OER outlined include the languages used in the creation of resources and the readability level, the lack of access to digital technology for learning, the poor assistive technology compatibility with OER, and locating appropriate and accessible OER among others.
Dr Chambers further highlighted two major developments in this area: the recent adoption of a national Inclusive OER policy adopted in Malaysia as well as the recent revised draft of the UNESCO Guidelines for the Inclusion of Learners with Disabilities in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) undertaken by UNESCO in the framework of a UN Partnership for Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) project.
UNESCO's Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER) is the only normative instrument in the field of technology and education. It identifies five action areas:
- capacity building to create, access, reuse, adapt and redistribute OER.
- supportive policy.
- inclusive and equitable access to quality OER.
- sustainability models for OER; and
- international cooperation.
The OER Dynamic Coalition was created following the adoption of the UNESCO OER Recommendation by Member States at the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2019. The aim of the Dynamic Coalition is to support governments in the implementation of the OER Recommendation by promoting and strengthening international and regional cooperation among all stakeholders in the first four areas of the UNESCO OER Recommendation.