Skip to main content

Guidelines for OER in Higher Education by UNESCO and COL

Yesterday (Nov 1, 2011) UNESCO and COL together have brought out the ‘Guidelines for OER in Higher Education’ at the UNESCO General Conference at Paris Headquarters. It is also a natural outcome for UNESCO as it had coined the "OER" phrase in 2002.  Perhaps an ideal memento to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the phrase - which has been working as a catalyst in converging and strengthening the efforts for open and inclusive higher education system all over the world. The UNESCO Open Educational Resources Platform was also launched in the same function. The platform offers selected UNESCO publications as open educational resources.

The introduction to the guidelines clearly states its purpose as “ encourage decision makers in governments and institutions to invest in the systematic production, adaptation and use of OER and to bring them into the mainstream of higher education in order to improve the quality of curricula and teaching and to reduce costs.”

The raise of knowledge economies, the projected 98 million growth to current 165 million  global enrolment for higher education  by 2025, innovations in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) etc make it imperative for our higher education systems to open up educational resources and further build on it through collaborative efforts and by avoiding duplication and wastage of time and resources.

The guidelines precisely explain all the crucial factors relating to the use of OER in higher education such as the higher education context, open licensing and the emergence of OER, the transformative potential of OER and the scope of the guidelines.

The guidelines are also contain separate sections for all the key stakeholders of higher education viz
  1. Governments
  2. Higher education institutions
  3. Academic staff
  4. Student bodies
  5. Quality assurance/accreditation bodies and academic recognition bodies 
Many governments in the world have already started to develop OER policies, many academic bodies have working policies on OER - I hope these guidelines would definitely exert further momentum for the main stream adoption of OER. The policy making bodies are usually found to be comfortable with triggering innovations on the basis of the guidelines and other documentations from intergovernmental organizations.

We should also realize that when the world population would touch 10 billion mark towards the end of the current century itself, the only powerful tools in our hands to meet the demand for higher education would be OER and ODL. Therefore let us carry forward the spirits of this UNESCO – COL joint initiative.

The CC-BY-SA licensed version of the guidelines can be downloaded from the Commonwealth of Learning website at
Creative Commons License
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License


Popular posts from this blog

Wayanad; everlasting memories of a travel

Wayanad, a northern district of Kerala state (my state) in India is always a passion for our friend Nelson, who has worked there for many years before joining us in Thiruvananthapuram, the State Head Quarters of Kerala. Through his narrations we (the other friends) have also got attracted to the place. Usually every year, we conduct two-three days trekking tour. This time we have decided to select Wayanad. Anil Kumar, Anoop, Nelson, Dileep, Sabu, Gopikrishnan and me (Anil Prasad) arrived at Kalpetta, the head quarters of Wayanad district in the misty and cold early morning of 9th October, 2009 by KSRTC bus from Kozhikode. We were travelling the whole night from Thiruvananthapuram to Kozhikoe by train. Another friend Asokan would join as there. Asokan would also arrange a rented van for our local trips. After having tea from a small shop in front of the Kalpetta Civil Station, we went to the PWD Rest House to freshen up and to take breakfast. By 11 a.m the entire team got ready for the…

Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP), Kerala

Higher Education, General Education and Local Self Government Departments of Kerala State Government in India have jointly launched an Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) as part of State Skill Development Programme to enhance the employability of students passing out of Higher Secondary Schools (+2) as well as Arts and Science Colleges in the state.
Historically Kerala has been a prominent supplier of skilled human resource to the rest of the world. But now, in accordance with the requirements of the fast changing world, though Kerala has an amazing pool of Human Resource, the overall employability is calculated below twenty five percent, the ASAP project document says.
 Additional Skill Acquisition Programme has been conceived as an effective remedy for this situation. The whole idea is that the students will be given skill training, in addition to their regular academic programme/curriculum, in the crucial sectors as being demanded by the Industry. These skill training w…

A trip to Sundarbans

It was a fine Friday of 29th May 2009, the last day of the 5 day ‘Learning for Content and Community Building Workshop’ that I was facilitating for Commonwealth of Learning in association with Rupantar, a leading NGO, in Khulna, Bangaldesh. The fifth day was for field trip and casual discussions; a community building exercise.
In the morning, around 8 AM, Shaikh Abdul Halim, Co-ordinator of the workshop along with Md.Saifuddin Rony, Rohima, Maksuda Akther, Tauhid Alam and Md.Shafiqul Shaikh came to Hotel Western Inn International, where I was staying in Khulna, in a Van driven by our friend Jewel.

We planned Sundarbans as the first destination of the trip, and during the return journey we would also visit some places of historical importance.

The Sundarbans (Bengali: Shundorbôn) is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful jungle" or "beautiful forest" in the Bengal…