New Report from the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee on UNESCO’s Recommendation on OER

On November 25, 2019, the member states of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) met in Paris and adopted the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER).

The decision was unanimous, and marked a historic milestone for open education efforts around the world. The Recommendation has five focus areas, that include I) Build the capacity of stakeholders to find, re-use, create and share OER, II) Develop supportive policy, III) Ensure inclusive and equitable access to quality OER, IV) Nurture the creation of sustainability models for OER, and V) Facilitate international co-operation.

The mandate of the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee (OERAC) for 2020 was to promote and support the UNESCO Recommendation and implementation across the globe. In the first months of 2020, the Committee designed a survey which gathered feedback from ICDE stakeholders, members and partners about the status of the UNESCO OER Recommendation’s implementation within the first seven months of adoption, and during the educational crisis caused by COVID-19. The questions had their foundation in the Recommendation but also on the work of the UNESCO OER Dynamic Coalition, in which ICDE takes part.

This global report is based on the findings of the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee (OERAC) survey and aims to provide a general baseline against which the international community can map future progress toward the UNESCO OER Recommendation. The report also aims to provide context and recommended next steps, with a special recognition of COVID-19’s impact on OER activities.

Key findings of the report indicate that only a few countries took action towards revising their OER policies or frameworks after the UNESCO Recommendation passed. However, responses also suggest most countries already have or were in the process of developing policies for supporting OER integration, development and evaluation, likely before the Recommendation was passed. Furthermore, COVID-19 seemed to catalyse more awareness-raising of OER, and engagement with OER in all regions. OERAC proposes a series of recommendations to ICDE and its community to build on the findings of the report.