Creating the Resources and Support Services to Assist National Governments in Implementing the Recommendation :async:

Cable Green (Creative Commons)

Open sharing advances universal access to knowledge in furtherance of fundamental human rights. When governments implement the UNESCO Recommendation on OER, open education increasingly becomes the default, and the world moves closer to reaching fundamental human rights in SDG4 and the UN Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26): everyone has the right to an education.

National governments will require support to implement the many actions listed in the Recommendation on OER. Some of this support will include (1) resources including, but not limited to: handouts on the benefits of OER, template open education and licensing policies, slide decks, infographics, professional learning opportunities, case studies, research summaries, stories of transformation, open policy and procurement guides, videos, FAQs, etc., and (2) direct support services to empower government practitioners and advocates through in-depth capacity building activities to help them navigate the legal, technical, and practical aspects of opening up knowledge.

This interactive activity will brainstorm what resources and direct services governments may need to successfully implement the detailed actions in the Recommendation. The session will begin with sharing an overview of the work to date the Network of Open Organizations, and the planned Recommendation implementation activities of the Creative Commons Open Education Platform. The bulk of the session will be spent discussing (1) what participants’ think their national governments will need to make progress implementing the Recommendation, (2) refining the list of potential resources and direct support services needed to assist Governments, (3) discuss what organizations (in addition to the Network of Open Orgs) we might want / need to partner with to successfully support governments' implementation, and (4) determining who would like to collaborate over the next 1-2 years to build the necessary resources and support services to help Governments implement the Recommendation.

Extended abstract: OE_Global_2021_paper_118.pdf đź“„

Activity Details

UNESCO OER Action Area: Facilitating international cooperation
Format: Asynchronous Interactive Activity
Language: English


This activity can be completed at any time during (or after) the conference.

Instructions and materials for the activity will be added below by the authors. They will provide specific details on how to participate and what to share back as a response to the activity.

Hi Everyone:

Welcome to OE Global!

This is a conversation space to discuss the creation of resources and support services to assist national governments in implementing the UNESCO recommendation on OER.

To start the conversation, what ideas do you have about how you could support your National Government in learning about the recommendation and we’re starting to implement it?

Do you have contacts or work in your ministry of education? Are there open advocates working in your national government?

Looking forward to the conversation,


Greetings Open Education Friends:

I’m here - checking this thread daily. If anyone would like to engage in a discussion about working with governments to implement the Recommendation, please reply to this thread.

Wishing you a good week,


Hi Cable, we’re working to get you some attention!


1 Like

Cable, thanks for seeking ideas on how to engage governments in implementing the UNESCO OER Recommendation. I think this is a critical need as without it the Recommendation runs the risk of being something nice on paper but largely ignored. It’s a bit like signing the Paris Climate Accord but then doing nothing to achieve the targets it sets.

In that light, before we can “support” the implementation of the Recommendation we first have to create the motivation for government adoption. This is a necessary precursor. So for me the question is what can the global open education community do to generate government motivation to implement the Recommendation?

Here are a few possibilities:

Point to governments that have already done so and highlight the numerous benefits that have happened as a result. This one is a bit tricky as in my view no government has really gone all in on open education. Instead governments dabble at it and maybe fund a few things here and there but no government is actively pursuing implementation of open education at the scope and scale of what the Recommendation calls for. This means though that there is a significant opportunity for someone to go first and get all the accolades that come with being a first mover.

Most governments are simply trying to make education accessible, available and effective especially in this pandemic context. This clearly is an area where open education could play a significant role. However, the open education movement has yet to produce an end-to-end like solution. Without that governments and the administrators and educators themselves have to do all the work of assembling infrastructure, resources and practices to implement. A task that can be so monumental that it is a showstopper. If we really want to help make education accessible, available and effective then the open education movement will have to migrate from incremental improvements to textbooks, courses, and teaching practices to more systemic approaches that address all the facets of providing education and reveal how open does it better. It would be wonderful if the open education community generated a roadmap for government implementation of the Recommendation that showed how governments could progressively implement over time in ways that offer immediate and ever increasing benefits. Where to start? What is step one? step two? step three? etc. What is required for each step? How long does it take? …

Point to evidence of effectiveness. There is a growing body of research that shows open education is as good or better than traditional education. But that body of evidence still needs to be further built out. I sometimes am troubled by the way we try to show open education as being more effective as played by the traditional rules of how education is done. But to my mind open education’s effectiveness and evidence of effectiveness might best be realized by changing the rules of how education is done. Do we really want to just make the existing traditional forms of education more available and accessible? I hope not. It is incredibly difficult to change the traditional ways of education. It is far easier to start from scratch and define a new way unencumbered by the bureaucracy and norms of the current education regime.

Generate a collective international rallying voice that calls for co-operation on implementation of the Recommendation. I think the global open education community could be a lot more effective at motivating governments if it joined forces and collectively called for implementation. This is something I’ve been keenly interested in. There are many different organizations working on open education internationally including Creative Commons, OEGlobal, Wikimedia and many others. But joining forces and generating a shared collective voice is proving to be very difficult. However, in my view a fragmented voice lacks the power and persuasiveness of a collective voice.

What are your ideas, not for supporting governments to implement but in motivating them to implement the Recommendation?

1 Like

Thanks Paul. Reading, thinking … will reply.

Hi Paul:

Thanks for replying to this thread.

(1) re: an “opportunity for someone to go first” - I think we might approach countries that have already aligned - e.g., the Forum of Small States: If we can convince one small state, for example, to go “all in” on implementing the Recommendation - we may have an opportunity to talk with similar countries that are also members of that group. There may be other thematic coalition of nations - e.g… SIDS: About Small Island Developing States | Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

(2) re: “generating a roadmap for government implementation of the Recommendation” - I agree this would be helpful for Governments. Our Network of Open Orgs had some early discussions on this point, and we all did some good work filling in the detailed matrix re: what actions governments and education institutions can take to implement the recommendation. Thinking through some sequential pathways for which actions to take first, second, third would be relatively easy for us to do, I think. Maybe that is the next project for the group.

(3) re: traditional vs. new ways of how education is done. I agree with your points, and I also think this is a very difficult discussion with governments. Existing systems often have built-in incentive structures to maintain their status quo. To date, I would argue, open education has mostly argued for existing education systems to become more effective and efficient in providing access to more / better educational resources to more people. If we pivot and recommend these education systems radically change how they design education environments, it’s a significantly larger discussion - and I think a greater challenge. Neil as you know has been raising this topic for some time. This seems an excellent discussion for the broader open education community to have. Maybe this could be a panel or Keynote at the OE Global in person conference and or at the next CC Summit in 2022?

(4) Agree 100% that multiple organizations collective voice is needed. I would go a step further and suggest that we need to partner, and include in our global campaign, partners that are traditionally not part of open education but are focused on increasing education access.

Looking forward to future discussions.