UNESCO

Kenya Ministry of ICT congratulates School of Open for transformative model of learning

Alex Gakuru, October 22nd, 2014

SOO Africa Launch Event
SOO Africa Launch Nairobi / CC BY / Phillip Ranja

Today the Mr. Joseph Tiampati, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of ICT of Kenya gave a speech to formally launch the School of Open Africa in Nairobi. The full text of the speech is below and also available as a PDF. In addition, a congratulatory message from Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology was delivered by Mr. John Temba, Head of ICT in Education at the Ministry. More info on the event from our announcement post yesterday.

Some highlights from the speech:

  • The Ministry recognizes Kenya as a signatory of UNESCO’s 2012 Paris Declaration on Open Educational Resources (OER) and that “open education resources improves the quality of teaching and learning, including by accelerating student comprehension and by providing more opportunities for the realisation of universal access to education.”
  • Kenya has developed and is rolling out a National ICT Master plan for the next five years. The Ministry recognizes “that Creative Commons through the School of Open Africa has provided a good example of innovative use of ICT in education that resonates well with the Kenya National ICT Master Plan… Open Education Resources coupled with innovative use of ICT in education will accelerate realization of a modern Kenya that will be a knowledge-based economy.”

And lastly,

“By using Open Educational Resources, OER, School of Open is opening up to many students who would have otherwise missed the opportunity of accessing education, especially in the marginalized areas which could not adequately access quality education. Ongoing, voluntary, and self- motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons is one of the characteristics of the 21st Century. One of the major ways of promoting life-long learning is the continuous use of ICT innovations in education.

“I congratulate School of Open teams across Africa for the innovative and transformative mode of teaching and learning that we are launching today. This African initiative is a worthy model for other regions of the world to emulate.”

Congrats on a successful launch to our communities across Africa!


SPEECH BY MR. JOSEPH TIAMPATI, PRINCIPAL SECRETARY MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE SCHOOL OF OPEN AFRICA, AT THE SERENA HOTEL, WEDNESDAY 22ND OCTOBER, 2014

“Good morning.

“It gives me great pleasure to be here today as the Chief Guest during the launch of School of Open – Africa. I would like to begin by sincerely thanking Creative Commons Africa community and under the able coordination of Alex Gakuru and Tobias Schonwetter, and the global Creative Commons Community for inviting me to preside over this launch.

“I am happy to note the enthusiasm demonstrated by School of Open Africa in transforming education along Sustainable Development Goals proposed for post-2015 (Goal No. 4: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all”) and in line with the Kenya Vision 2030 which seeks to transform Kenya into a middle-income country that offers high quality of life to all citizens by the year 2030. I am happy to note how much School of Open Africa has grown in Kenya and embraced in countries like Senegal, Nigeria, and South Africa among other African countries in the last few years. I am informed that School of Open by Creative Commons is highly reputed around the world for addressing universal access to education.

SOO Africa Launch Event 5
Awarding CopyrightX certificates / CC BY / Phillip Ranja

“Kenya is a signatory to the UNESCO’s 2012 Paris Declaration on Open Education Resources licensed under Creative Commons open licenses. The use of open education resources improves the quality of teaching and learning, including by accelerating student comprehension and by providing more opportunities for the realisation of universal access to education. Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

“Fully aware of the role of education in a country’s development agenda, I am sure that the new initiatives being undertaken by School of Open Africa, the Creative Commons and UNESCO are making their contribution towards the social, economic, and political pillars which are the three fundamental cornerstones of our country, and indeed for our great continent.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as you may be aware, the Country’s development blue print is being implemented through successive five- year Medium Term Plans (MTPs) that will finally enable the country to achieve the long-term goals. We are now in the second medium term plan cycle (2013-2017) whose theme is “Transforming Kenya: Pathways to Devolution, Socio-economic Development, Equity and National Unity”. As you may be aware, the ICT Authority rolled out the National ICT Master plan that will set the pace for progression of the country in ICT for the next five years. The Master plan – once fully rolled out – will completely transform government processes, services and management, and make information access and service delivery more efficient. Again, the Master plan, with the flagship projects to pilot its implementation, will steer the march towards the digital future that will transform the country to a regional technical hub, raise the country’s competitiveness and align the country in line with vision 2030’s ICT goals.

“By launching the Kenya ICT Master Plan, the government revealed its commitment towards the enhancement of access to quality education and training through ICT in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We are reviewing the National ICT Policy Guidelines to ensure alignment with proposed Sustainable Development Goals.
As a country, we are also privileged to have a National ICT Policy whose goal is to create a prosperous ICT-driven Kenyan society. With a well mainstreamed ICT society, we are assured of better livelihoods of Kenyans attainable through the availability of accessible, efficient, reliable and affordable ICT services.

“ICT provides a platform that enables the realization of these goals. I must emphasize that Creative Commons through the School of Open Africa has provided a good example of innovative use of ICT in education that resonates well with the Kenya National ICT Master Plan. The integration of ICT into educational programmes places both the teaching staff and students at the forefront in the utilization of ICT for the enhancement of lives.

“I note with great pleasure the freedom to re-purpose offered by openly licensed educational resources, the convenience online access to learners as alternative courses delivery and certification methods. At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, I thank William Fisher III, Professor of Intellectual Property and his staff at the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School for providing a free copyright law course taught to graduands present today to receive their certificates. I also thank Michael Murungi (then CEO, National Council for Law Reporting or “Kenya Law”) and Alex Gakuru for successfully conducting the course in Nairobi. I must congratulate the former students and ask to make the very best use of the copyright law knowledge they acquired while also challenging all universities represented here to consider emulating the highly successfully CopyrightX initiative.

“As the government continues to work on modalities of ensuring universal access to education and increasing the internet penetration in all parts of the country, we are pleased to witness this mode of study that will definitely translate to affordable education. Open Education Resources coupled with innovative use of ICT in education will accelerate realization of a modern Kenya that will be a knowledge-based economy.

“By using Open Educational Resources, OER, School of Open is opening up to many students who would have otherwise missed the opportunity of accessing education, especially in the marginalized areas which could not adequately access quality education. Ongoing, voluntary, and self- motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons is one of the characteristics of the 21st Century. One of the major ways of promoting life-long learning is the continuous use of ICT innovations in education.

“I congratulate School of Open teams across Africa for the innovative and transformative mode of teaching and learning that we are launching today. This African initiative is a worthy model for other regions of the world to emulate.

“As I conclude I take this opportunity to applaud UNESCO’s efforts and contribution in the development and growth of the country through this noble initiative that enables the primary, secondary and universities to optimize the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in learning. I acknowledge the generous financial support from the Hewlett Foundation and SOO Africa teams support by Google.

“With those remarks, it is now my pleasure to declare the School of Open Africa officially opened.

“Thank you.”

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Ministries of ICT, Education, & UNESCO join to formally launch School of Open Africa

Jane Park, October 21st, 2014

As promised last week, here are the details around the formal launch event for School of Open Africa taking place in Nairobi tomorrow morning.

SOO AfricaV3
SOO logo here. Earth CC BY by Erin Standley, Noun Project.

Our Creative Commons and School of Open volunteers in Kenya, including CC Regional Coordinator Alex Gakuru, are hosting a formal launch event of School of Open Africa in celebration of the School of Open programs launched last month in Africa, and to announce new programs in higher education. The event will feature a panel discussion with senior government officials from the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Ministry of ICT along with Dr. Bitange Ndemo (University of Nairobi) and regional representatives from UNESCO and Google regarding the status of open education in Africa, School of Open’s contributions and future. Alex says,

“This event will help establish a conversation platform for policymakers around School of Open Africa, connecting and synchronising education and ICT policies with the innovative open education programs being led by Creative Commons volunteers in Africa. It will also connect current School of Open programs in primary and high school education to academia and NRENs1 — towards the realisation of the international aspiration for universal access to education.”

Additional attendees include professors from local universities and law schools; participants of the copyright law course, CopyrightX:Kenya, who will be awarded certificates of completion; our CC Kenya affiliates; and School Open Kenya leads.

CopyrightX Kenya
CopyrightX Kenya / CC Kenya / CC BY

In addition to the panel, SOO Kenya’s Simeon Oriko will present on School of Open Africa programs led to date, and Dr. Tonny Omwansa with C4DLab at the University of Nairobi will announce a new School of Open program to develop OER courses for higher education. This program will serve as a model for other universities across Africa to develop high quality open educational resources for use in higher education under CC BY. In celebration, CC t-shirts in Kiswahili will be distributed, “mwananchi mbunifu,” aka ‘creative commoner.’

soo africa launch shirts2

The event is hosted at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi and will last from 9am-1pm, followed by a celebratory lunch. The event and new OER program in higher education is made possible with technical support from UNESCO and generous financial support from the Hewlett Foundation.


About the School of Open

SOO-logo-100x100

The School of Open is a global community of volunteers that provides free education opportunities on the meaning, application, and impact of “openness” in the digital age and its benefit to creative endeavors, education, and research. Volunteers develop and run courses, workshops, and training programs on topics such as Creative Commons licenses, open educational resources, and sharing creative works. The School of Open is coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, a nonprofit that builds and supports learning communities on the web.

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UNESCO launches Open Access Repository under Creative Commons

Cable Green, December 18th, 2013

UNESCO has announced a new Open Access Repository making more than 300 digital reports, books and articles available to the world under the Creative Commons IGO licenses.

From UNESCO’s press release:

“Currently, the Repository contains works in some 12 languages, including major UNESCO reports and key research publications. As well as the 300 Open Access publications, UNESCO will provide on-line availability to hundreds of other important reports and titles. Covering a wide range of topics from all regions of the world, this knowledge can now be shared by the general public, professionals, researchers, students and policy-makers… under an open license.”

UNESCO will continue to expand its collection of open resources with selected past publications and all new works following its new Open Access Policy adopted in April 2013. As of 31 July 2013 all new UNESCO publications are released with one of the CC IGO licenses and will be loaded into the Open Access Repository. The majority of UNESCO resources will be openly licensed under CC BY SA.

Kudos too to UNESCO for implementing many of the recommendations in its own 2012 Paris OER Declaration (translations):

d. Promote the understanding and use of open licensing frameworks.
g. Encourage the development and adaptation of OER in a variety of languages and cultural contexts.
i. Facilitate finding, retrieving and sharing of OER.
j. Encourage the open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds.

By open licensing its publications, UNESCO not only makes all the knowledge it creates freely and openly available to the world, but it sets an important example for its 195 member (and 9 associate member) nations about the strong policy arguments for releasing publicly funded resources under open licenses. The message is clear: it is a good idea to adopt open policies that increase access and reduce costs to education, research, scientific and cultural resources.

Congratulations UNESCO!

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2012 Paris OER Declaration

Cable Green, June 29th, 2012

Ms. Catherine Ngugi and Letuimanu’asina Dr. Emma KRUSE VA'AI
Ms. Catherine Ngugi.. and Letuimanu’asina Dr. Emma KRUSE VA’AI / Mariana Bittencourt / CC BY

Through the generous support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and in full partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), UNESCO hosted the 2012 World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress last week to:

  • showcase the world’s best practices in OER policies, initiatives, and experts;
  • release the 2012 Paris OER Declaration calling on Governments to support the development and use of OERs; and
  • celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2002 UNESCO Forum that created the term “OER.”

I am pleased to report UNESCO member States unanimously approved the “Paris OER Declaration” (pdf).

This Declaration is the result of a yearlong process, led by UNESCO and the COL with regional and online meetings and final negotiations at the Congress. The Declaration recommends UNESCO member States:

    a. Foster awareness and use of OER.

    b. Facilitate enabling environments for use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).

    c. Reinforce the development of strategies and policies on OER.

    d. Promote the understanding and use of open licensing frameworks.

    e. Support capacity building for the sustainable development of quality learning materials.

    f. Foster strategic alliances for OER.

    g. Encourage the development and adaptation of OER in a variety of languages and cultural contexts.

    h. Encourage research on OER.

    i. Facilitate finding, retrieving and sharing of OER.

    j. Encourage the open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds.

The Declaration will now be delivered to UNESCO’s Director General. She will submit the Declaration to the UNESCO Executive Board on October, 2012. After the UNESCO Board approves the Declaration, it will go to the General Conference for final approval. While it is important to note a “Declaration” is a non-binding UNESCO instrument, a UNESCO declaration does “set forth universal principles to which the community of States wished to attribute the greatest possible authority and to afford the broadest possible support.”

OER Congress resources

Bravo to all who helped move the world to this moment! So many open advocates traveled to the regional meetings and to the Congress. Your contributions and work with your governments led us all to this successful outcome.

Lawrence Lessig’s Keynote (added 27 July, 2012):

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Join the World Open Educational Resources Congress

Jane Park, June 19th, 2012

The 2012 World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress is kicking off tomorrow in Paris, France. Organized by UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the World OER Congress will encourage more governments to adopt policies that include OER and will bring together Ministers of Education/Human Resource Development, senior policy makers, expert practitioners, researchers, students and many other relevant stakeholders to:

1. Showcase the world’s best practices in OER policies, initiatives, and experts
2. Release a 2012 Paris OER Declaration calling on Governments to support the development and use of OERs
3. Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2002 UNESCO Forum that created the term OER

Participate

There are several ways you can participate in the congress. From 20-22 June, the congress will be livecast in two web streams:

    1. The official congress featuring discussion on the Paris OER Declaration and governmental actions for OER (English stream, French stream)
    2. A parallel stream featuring an Open Seminar & Exhibition of the world’s best OER practices, policies, and initiatives (English stream, French stream). For this stream, UNESCO will have present a digital moderator to whom you can pose questions via identi.ca or Twitter using the #oercongress hashtag.

You can also follow the congress on Twitter, join and ask questions on the OER community WSIS KC platform, and contribute to the draft Paris OER Declaration (pdf) until Thursday 21 June, 12pm Paris time by writing to oerdeclaration@unesco.org.

The complete program of sessions and speakers, and all other information, is available at the website.

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Creative Commons at an International Seminar and Expert Meeting in Moscow

Jonas Öberg, December 16th, 2011


Picture of Светлана Князева, Дендев Бадарч and Юрий Хохлов during the opening of the seminar / Михаил Федин / CC BY-SA

Creative Commons’ Russian affiliate Institute of the Information Society (IIS), in collaboration with the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies, organized an international seminar and expert meeting on the 6th of December in Moscow. As the CC Regional Project Manager for Europe, I participated in the event together with representatives from Creative Commons in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

The seminar was attended by industry participants, organizations and representatives from Russian governments and federal agencies, including the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, Ministry of Education and Science, Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications, Federal Antimonopoly Service, State Duma of the Russian Federation, Research Center of Private Law at the President of the RF and the Chamber of Commerce.

IIS legal experts have prepared an analytical report, Use of Creative Commons Licenses in the Russian Federation (pdf), which was presented at the seminar. It contains conclusions and recommendations for future activities aimed at introducing Creative Commons in Russia, including discussion of potential legislative changes aimed at enabling the licence locally. It also contains an annex with information and results from the CC Global Summit 2011 in Warsaw in September 2011.

Other sessions at the seminar included presentations by representatives of each of the CC jurisdiction teams present, as well as critiques of the CC licences by local academics and the local Wikimedia chapter, with much of the discussion focusing on 4.0. The day finished with a special UNESCO-hosted session on OER.

For Creative Commons, the seminar was an excellent starting point for our future work in Russia, and the participation of Creative Commons affiliates from the CIS countries shows that there is a clear interest in working together in the regions. As part of its work, IIS will now start providing input to the recently launched Version 4.0 process, as well as continuing its work to raise awareness of Creative Commons with Russian authorities.

It’s very exciting to see this region grow; I’m very happy to see that there’s now a discussion around the upcoming Version 4.0, its relevance for Russia and the possibility for Russia to participate in the shaping of this important license suite for sharing culture globally!

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German UNESCO Commission releases “Open Content Licenses – A Practical Guideline”

Jane Park, November 17th, 2011

The German UNESCO Commission has released the publication, “Open Content Lizenzen – Ein Leitfaden für die Praxis” (pdf) aka “Open Content Licenses – A Practical Guideline.” The publication is authored by Dr. Till Kreutzer, a member of the Commission’s legal expert committee and a founder of iRights.info, a legal information website for consumers. The publication explains how to make use of open licenses, featuring the CC license suite as its primary example. Though tailored towards companies, institutions and organizations, the guideline is also a compact how-to for anyone interested in CC licensing their work. The publication is available under CC BY-NC, and is a timely follow-up to UNESCO’s related publication with the Commonwealth of Learning, “Guidelines for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education” — which also highlights the use of CC licenses for OER.

Read more about the German guideline at the press release (German), and download it from UNESCO (pdf).

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UNESCO and COL release open education policy document for higher education

Timothy Vollmer, November 1st, 2011

Today UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning jointly released the policy document Guidelines for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education. The purpose of the guidelines is “to encourage decision makers in governments and institutions to invest in the systematic production, adaptation, and use of OER and to bring them in to the mainstream of higher education in order to improve the quality of curricula and teaching and to reduce costs.”

UNESCO and COL note, “Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain and released with an open license (such as Creative Commons). They allow communities of practitioners and stakeholders to copy, adapt and share their resources legally and freely, in order to support high-quality and locally relevant teaching and learning.”

The guidelines indicate how the potential of OER can be harnessed to support quality teaching and learning by higher education stakeholders, including governments, higher education institutions, teaching staff, students, and quality assurance, accreditation, and academic recognition authorities.

The Guidelines for OER in Higher Education inform the process leading up to the 2012 World OER Congress. That event is being organized by UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The Congress will 1) work to promote the UNESCO/COL OER Policy Guidelines; 2) share the world’s best practices in OER policies, initiatives, and experts; and 3) release the 2012 Paris OER Declaration calling on Governments to support the development and use of OERs.

The UNESCO/COL policy document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license.

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Designing assessment and credit pathways for open education learners

Jane Park, February 9th, 2011

open badge infrastructure prototype
Badge prototypes by P2PU & Mozilla / CC BY-SA

Getting students formal credit for their free and open education is a challenge, but groups and institutions are working around the world to come up with alternative pathways to recognition. The Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is one such group that explored the topic in an assessment workshop last September and then co-designed virtual “badges” for recognition in real time at the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona. P2PU and Mozilla are piloting these badges via the P2PU School of Webcraft, and have solicited would-be developers for the skills and competencies that would best be reflected by a badge system. In collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, they have drafted An Open Badge System Framework: A foundational piece on assessment and badges (Google doc).

A meeting to build an OER University


Alternatives, such as the badge system above, may factor into a plan to bring formal recognition to open education learners’ achievements. In an effort to combine institutional forces, the Open Educational Resources (OER) Foundation will host an international planning meeting on February 23 to co-design assessment and credit pathways for open learning. As open educational resources (OER) under CC licenses become more integrated into institutional education, the OER foundation (along with Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, and Athabasca University in Canada) is hoping to “provide flexible pathways for OER learners to earn formal academic credit and pay reduced fees for assessment and credit.”

The challenge is to find robust mechanisms for academic credit for these OER learners. “Students seek flexible study opportunities, but they also want their achievements recognised in credible credentials.” said Sir John Daniel, President of the Commonwealth of Learning. “This important meeting will tackle the challenges of combining flexibility with rigour, which requires clarity in conception and quality in execution.”

The OER Foundation invites and encourages all post-secondary institutions and others “who care about sharing knowledge as a core value of education” to join the meeting, which will be streamed virtually by UNESCO to enable participation by all.

The foundation believes “OER is a sustainable and renewable resource,” but that “collaboration among education institutions will be a prerequisite for success.”

Learn more about the OER for Assessment & Credit for Students Project and see UNESCO’s announcement for more information.

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Fotopedia and UNESCO Launch World Heritage Application

Jane Park, August 10th, 2010

Fotopedia, in collaboration with the UNESCO World Heritage Center, has created a breathtaking new application for the iPhone and iPad. The app builds on the concept of a coffee table book, updating and enhancing the browsing experience for the web.

UNESCO World Heritage “seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.” With 911 properties, UNESCO has identified 890 heritage sites around the world. Now for the first time, you can access these sites as one comprehensive collection via the Fotopedia Heritage project.

This project would not be possible without Creative Commons, as over 18,000 of the pictures in Fotopedia Heritage book are under one of the CC licenses. The pictures come from all around the world; as individual photographers and organizations license their high quality photos under Creative Commons, the book will only grow as a community contributed and shareable resource.

Jean-Marie Hullot, CEO of Fotopedia, writes, “I believe it is a terrific showcase for what Creative Commons enable[s]. The biggest photo book ever… growing everyday with only high quality and 100% relevant pictures due to our community-based curation process.” From the announcement:

Fotopedia Heritage is a new way to experience Fotopedia, the first collaborative photo encyclopedia. The team led by Jean-Marie Hullot (former CTO of NeXT and Apple’s application division) built the application while the Fotopedia community added and curated the photos thus ensuring high relevance and quality.

Explore our heritage deeper and deeper navigating carefully chosen tags, learn more about each place reading rich descriptions from UNESCO and Wikipedia and browse an interactive map, localize precisely each site. And if you are planning a trip, you will be just one click away from TripAdvisor travel information for the World Heritage Sites you are interested in.

The Fotopedia Heritage book currently has over 20,000 pictures. Find out more about how you can contribute!

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