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  • Research Project funded by UNESCO Regional Office for Science in Latina America and the Caribbean in Montevideo, and carried out between April and October 2013. It is a collaborative work that I could not have done it without the help of Carolina Botero and Luisa Guzmán.
  • The project aimed to identify and analyze spending and investment that some Latin American governments commit to make in the development and procurement of textbooks, books and digital content for primary and secondary education.
    The ultimate goal was to propose a roadmap or to offer some recommendation for developing policies that advance the objectives of the UNESCO Paris OER Declaration.
  • There are different definitions of open educational resources, but the one that guided this research is the definition adopted by the UNESCO Paris Declaration. According to the Declaration, OER areAny material of teaching, learning and research material in the public domain or published with an open license to be used, adapted and distributed free of charge.
  • In this sense, this report seeks to address some of the recommendations of the Declaration:
    (1) The promotion and use of open educational resources
    (2) The development and use of resources in digital format through the promotion of information and communications technologies in education
    (3) And also, its use adapted to local contexts and languages
    (4) To finalize with the adoption of open licenses for educational resources
  • This research was focused on these 5 countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • I do not want to take much time in this slide, but it is important to consider some choices we made when we began the research:
    (1) We analyzed both print and digital educational resources, because both type of resources coexist and complement each other.
    (2) In LA, paper textbook continues to have a leading role in the education systems, reason why we evaluated how the acquisition of these resources occurs.
    (3) The data used in the research comes from public sources or were provided by government officials
    (4) And as I said previously, the report is framed within the definition of OER of the Paris Declaration
  • (1) Regarding the education spending, we noted that Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia have increased their investment. However, Chile and Paraguay efforts have not been sufficient. The spending on education is of 4-5% of gross domestic product in these countries, which is close to the average for OECD countries. This does not mean that we have been able to identify data related to expenditure on educational material development and acquisition. It appears that the governments themselves have no systematized this information so they can identify it. One could say that maybe there is an issue of transparency and accountability that need to be address.
    (2) We do know that investment in education closely matches administrative and operational expenses, which is between 75% (Uruguay) to 95% (Colombia) of education budgets. The remaining percentage is allocated, for instance, to subsidies, transfers to private entities, expenditure on the acquisition of educational resources. We could supposed that the proportion allocated to the procurement of school textbooks does not entail an inordinate expense.
    (3) When it comes to educational resources, States buy finished goods through standardized models, for instance, public-bidding models. Only in isolated projects we could identify budget allocation for the development and acquisition of materials.
    (4) The state is a passive agent of the publishing market. Therefore, the publishing industry has a strong economic power. We believe that this relationship could be used to develop a different model of mutual benefit.
    (5) The purchase of educational resources represents a significant percentage of the publishing market in each country. In this regard, it is noteworthy that transnational or foreign publishers are gaining presence in the domestic markets. For instance, Spanish publishers have 25% of the Colombia market and nearly half of the Chilean market (47%). In Argentina, the presence of transnational publishers has already reached 35%.
    (6) The use of ICT in education has advanced in the region. This, however, has not yet led to the incorporation of elements of the OER concept. Only Uruguay and Colombia have related this toward openness in education: Uruguay with the Ceibal Plan and Colombia with the National Strategy for Digital Educational Resources.
    (7) The 5 countries have also considered the way in which the digital resources will circulate in the digital world: through educational portals that offer free access to digital resources. The weaknesses are that there is no stated strategy for adopting open licenses nor there is consistency as to provided open access to these resources.
  • (8) Despite being reproducing acquisition models of the analog world to digital, we were also able to identify examples that go beyond acquiring and distributing for free. For instance, Uruguay, in the context of Plan Ceibal, has been negotiating licenses to use the material for a period of two years. Colombia and Argentina have contests for content production from the educational community, which required the waiving of rights. However, none has the scope of a OER initiative.
    (9) The purchase of educational resources is not part of a state policy. Perhaps the only exercise that begins to establish certain standard in this regard is the National Strategy for Digital Education Resource of Colombia, where at least some thought has been given to future re-use.
    (10) Reducing the digital divide through digital technology in education is a visible concern in state policies. One laptop per student is well established. It is a clear policy in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay. In Chile, the model does not seek to reduce the digital divide but to address learning problems and to provide one laptop per student / teacher in the classroom. In Colombia, the Ministry of Education has rejected this option, but it has been challenged by Ministry of ICT that is in the midst of a national campaign to distribute tablets and computers to primary and secondary students.
    (11) In the region, there is still a strong dependency of paper textbooks, which is supported by the persistence of traditional teaching methods. Some of the explanations of this fact may be due to the digital divide, distrust in digital content, lack of skills to make pedagogical use of ICT, and most likely the marketing of school textbook publishers is also influencing as it’s clearly happening in the case of Paraguay. In this sense, the educational portals arenot having the expected outcomes. For instance, the hours of peak usage of Colombia's educational portal happens at night, not during school hours.
    (12) We found that government involvement in the textbook publishing market is significant. That's why we believe that from a more positive approach, the relationship that already exists between governments and the publishing industry can be transformed for mutual benefit, in which an alternative model can be explored and adopted.
  • In order to promote the development of educational resources by the educational community and to incorporate the principles of the Paris Declaration into public policies, we recommend:
    The States and the publishing industry shall renegotiate their relationship. The industry could shift to providing support to improve the capacities of the educational system, mainly teachers that should be able to have or produce materials that they can reuse and reformulate, not only "consume.” While the State can modify the procurement conditions as to adopt, for instance, the use of open licenses.
    It will be important to build stronger links between programs for the educational use of ICTs and the acquisition of digital educational materials that fulfill international OER standards. This, we believe, can help to address current problems of lack of relevance, diversity and quality of educational materials.
    We also recommend the development of indicators that facilitate measuring the impact of OER policies, and of the use of public funds to finance their production and use.
    We recommend conducting an economic analysis of current investment by these countries on the education resources acquisition. Such analysis should also take into account the publishing market, in such a way that it can measure the real price of producing resources. A study based on clear figures should allow for developing a stronger arguments to convince governments –and perhaps educational publishers– of the economic advantages of the OER.
    In response to the difficulties we encountered for finding concrete data on the educational resources acquisition, we recommend more transparency and accountability by the governments. That is, that governments produce better information, figures and indicators regarding the spending. If this information were to be lifted and compiled, the State itself would be in a better position to conduct its own impact assessment for these expenditures. Any such process will also require indicators designed to facilitate this analysis.
    Finally, we are of the opinion that the commitment to the principles of the Paris Declaration requires an environment that knows and understands the benefits of OER. It is therefore important that the educational community comprehend that the OER movement goes beyond the free access and efforts of using technology in the classroom.
  • Transcript

    • 2.
    • 3. OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCESOPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES Any teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution (UNESCO Paris OER Declaration).
    • 4. UNESCOUNESCO PARISPARIS OEROER DECLARATIONDECLARATION • Promotion and use of OER • Development and use in digital formats • Development and adaptation to local context/languages • Use of open licenses
    • 6. CONSIDERATIONSCONSIDERATIONS • Resources in print and digital • Predominant role of physical resources • Public sources or provided by gov’t officials • OER as defined in the Paris Declaration
    • 7. COMPARISON & KEY ASPECTSCOMPARISON & KEY ASPECTS 1. Educational budget growth (Ar, Co, Uy) 2. Higher spending on admin. and operation (75%-95%) 3. Public bidding models 4. State = consumer of publishing market 5. Textbook market = imp. to publishing industry (Ar: 35% | Co: 25% | Cl: 47%) 6. Promotion of ICT in education (Uy: Plan Ceibal | Co: Nat’l Strategy) 7. Fostering of public access (not open)
    • 8. 8. States are going beyond free distribution/comm. of digital contents: licensing negotiation, contests, agreements... 9. Educational resources development/purchase is not part of State policy (Co National Strategy) 10. Concern about the digital divide = OLPC (Ar, Cl, Py, Uy) 11. Dependency on paper textbook | Prevalence of traditional teaching methods 12. Opportunity to transform relationship b/w government /& publishing industry COMPARISON & KEY ASPECTSCOMPARISON & KEY ASPECTS
    • 9. 1. Readjusting acquisition model 2. Building stronger links b/w educational use of ICTs and digital materials acquisition 3. Developing indicators to measure impact 4. Conducting an economic analysis 5. Producing better info, figures & indicators on acquisition spending 6. Raising awareness to, & training for, the education community RECOMMENDATIONSRECOMMENDATIONS
    • 10. Thanks!Thanks!