This week, IFLA celebrates Open Education Week 2020 alongside many other educational and cultural stakeholders.
What is Open Education?
Open Education is a global movement that aims to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge to citizens around the world through open educational resources, tools and best practices.
But what does ‘open’ mean? It refers to resources which are in the public domain or which were created with an open license to allow them to be shared and reused for free by others around the world.
Why is this important?
Every individual in the world has a right to access to education and knowledge. These in turn are key to global development.
Providing access to education through resources and tools means giving everyone the opportunity to learn and develop.
It is also an opportunity to conceive of education as a lever to fight against poverty in the world (SDG1), to allow access to better jobs (SDG8), and to reduce inequalities between men and women (SDG5), and between countries (SDG10).
UNESCO adopted a recommendation in November 2019 on Open Educational Resources (OER), promoting the development of five strategic objectives:
- Building the capacity of stakeholders to create access, use, adapt and redistribute OER;
- Developing supportive policy;
- Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER;
- Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER;
- Facilitating international cooperation.
IFLA has been involved in this process for many years, and welcomes this work, which in particular stresses the importance of the role of librarians in the creation of educational content and the place of access to these resources.
How can libraries support this global objective?
Clarify the status of your resource:
If your library creates educational content, it is crucial to be transparent about how your audience can use it (e.g. sharing, reusing, modifying). It is therefore important to carefully choose the licence you wish to use (see creative commons licences) or specify it with public domain mark.
The slightest doubt about the possibility of use can discourage public sharing.
Enhance your resources via your institutional channels
Does your library have (open) educational resources to share? Feel free to highlight them on your website or through your social networks to reach out teachers or educational networks.
Share these resources via an external site
There are also sites that promote free educational resources in several languages, such as the Open Education Week site.