Open Educational Resources for Open Schools By Frances Ferreira, Education Specialist, Commonwealth of Learning
Key Problem the Project is Trying to Address While the world average for secondary school enrolment is 65%, the GER in SSA is 30%, which is up from 19% in 1990/91 (At the Crossroads: Choices for secondary education and training in SSA, World Bank: Africa Human Development Department, 2007, p.4).
What Choices do Policymakers Have? Access remains inequitable, especially in rural areas with girls being particularly disadvantaged. As governments stretch their resources to make progress towards the Millennium Development Goal of Universal Primary Education by 2015, it is unlikely that the expansion of secondary provision will be a priority. And even if one new secondary school were to be built every month for the next ten years, the increased demand would not be met. Many African countries have launched major initiatives to introduce free primary education, but what happens when students graduate from elementary school?
Theory of Action Open schooling is an appropriate response to the rapidly increasing demand for secondary education, it can be conducted at scale and cost-effectively. It has the potential for complementing the conventional school systemand using ICTs to scale up education.The development and distribution of OERs will assist the developing countries to broaden access to millions of secondary school students who would otherwise not have had the opportunity for learning, and in so doing it will assist in achieving the MDG’s.
What have we learned????? While teachers are interested in using technology to improve the learning experience, lack of professional development and access to resources impede the effective use of technology and concomitant development of OERs.
Building the capacity of teachers is key when developing OERs and for achieving effective use of technology in the classroom.
Learning materials will be available as OERs in multiple formats to suit as wide a range of users as possible. Copies of the materials will be put on CD/DVD and distributed to ministries of education or institutions that have difficulty to access it online.