Launch of the UNESCO Dynamic Coalition for Open Education Resources (OER)

As the first major step since Member States adopted the UNESCO Open Education Resources (OER) Recommendation in November 2019, UNESCO launched the OER Dynamic Coalition took place online in March 2020 Monday.
In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the meeting, which was foreseen originally to take place at UNESCO Headquarters was quickly adapted to an online format and launched as foreseen on 2 March 2020 for a month of consultation Thanks to the quick mobilisation of the speakers and experts, the presentations took place via video and questionnaires were sent out to the participants to collect feedback over the following days.

Further to the support from the UNESCO Category 2 Centre for Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI – the Jožef Stefan Institute) in Slovenia, arrangements were made to ensure that presentations (videos, .ppt, etc.) could be made available on the Institute’s website:

Mr Cedric Wachholz, Chief of Section for Digital Innovation and Transformation, on behalf of the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, and Mr Borhene Chakroun, Director of the Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, on behalf of the Assistant Director-General for Education, jointly opened the Launch of the OER Dynamic Coalition via webcast.

Mr Gasper Hrastelj, Deputy Secretary-General of the Slovenian National Commission highlighted in his intervention focussing on the role of Governments, and in particular National Commissions in the implementation of the UNESCO OER Recommendation, ‘.. Together with UNESCO, experts and a huge number of governments that have expressed their support for the Recommendation in the last General Conference, our common goal is this recommendation will be a huge success for everybody who is involved in this process ‘.

Building on the Recommendation, the constitution of a Dynamic Coalition responds to two needs identified by Member States.

Firstly, the Dynamic Coalition is the embodiment of the fifth objective of the Recommendation: facilitate international cooperation to promote the use of OER. It is composed of experts from institutions, inter-governmental organisations, civil society, the private sector and benefits from the particular support of UNESCO National Commissions. As such, it aims to represent the diversity of stakeholders in the field of OER, while ensuring the principles of gender equity and geographic distribution. The Dynamic Coalition exists to federate stakeholders in the field of OER, and to speak as one voice on its related issues and common goals.

Secondly, the Dynamic Coalition will lead and structure the programmes of activities to achieve the other four objectives laid in the Recommendation, namely (i) building capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-sue, adapt and redistribute OER; (ii) developing supportive policy; (iii) encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER; and (iv) nurturing the creation of sustainability models of OER. For each objective, the Dynamic Coalition oversees a dedicated working group of experts.

The purpose of this first meeting was to produce a Roadmap to implement these objectives. For each of the four areas of action, experts contributed to design activities, define timelines, and identify potential partners and funding mechanisms.

The speaker’s video presentations on each area of action were shared with the experts, who subsequently provided their inputs via online questionnaires. After compiling and processing the results, UNESCO will deliver the Roadmap to the Dynamic Coalition.

The Launch of the OER Dynamic Coalition was successful in federating at a distance a representative pool of experts in OER and in defining the modalities of the Roadmap.

The questionnaire responses provided extensive inputs to support the examination of the first four areas of action of the UNESCO OER Recommendation with a view to establishing mechanisms for international and regional cooperation. The synthesis of the inputs provided the elements of a multi-stakeholder Roadmap to expand and consolidate commitments to actions and strategies in implementing the OER Recommendation.

In the context of the COVID-19 sanitary crisis, the OER Dynamic Coalition Launch, originally foreseen as a two-day meeting at UNESCO Headquarters, was held over several weeks, allowing for fruitful and in-depth online exchanges on the key issues. The Roadmap produced through this process brings together the richness of these global inputs and defines a series of strategic and timely results, allowing the diverse set of stakeholders to jointly implement UNESCO’s OER Recommendation.