UNESCO and COL promote wider use of OERs

Taking OERs beyond the OER Community: Policy and Capacity is an initiative designed to increase the understanding of OERs by educational decision makers within governments and institutions, and to encourage the incorporation of the concept of OERs into their policies and strategies.


OERs will not be able to help countries reach their educational goals unless awareness of their power and potential can rapidly be expanded beyond the communities of interest that they have already attracted.

This Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and UNESCO initiative focuses in the first instance on institutions of higher education in Africa and Asia and the Pacific and aims to:

  • develop the capacity of senior officials and institutional leaders to understand OERs and accept them as a legitimate and attractive alternative to costly books
  • develop the capacity of educators to find, adapt, create and use OERs

Funding for this project is provided by the UNESCO Regular Programme, the United States Government and the Commonwealth of Learning.

It builds on the results of previous and ongoing projects of the two organizations, such as the UNESCO Higher Education ODL Knowledge Base and the Virtual University of Small States (VUSSC) that COL is facilitating.  

To date, two workshops have been held in the framework of this project in Africa: in Cape Town, South Africa in April 2010, targeting institutional leaders; and in Windhoek, Namibia in May 2010, targeting quality assurance professionals.  A further workshop with focus on Francophone Africa is planned for October 2010 in Bamako, Mali.

A series of one-week online discussion forums, and a Policy Forum aimed at  governmental stakeholders are also planned. 

Sources: UNESCO Division of Higher Education, COL Integrating eLearning, COL Blog

24 June 2010

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