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African Library and Information Associations & Institutions (AfLIA) Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, 2019

Image courtesy of AfLIA, CC BY

 

Report by Leanne Rencken,[1] for OER Africa.

Three inspiring conversations with remarkable African librarians provided me with great hope that our libraries on the African continent are in good hands.

Why did I have these conversations? My mission was to find out more about the ongoing collaboration between the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA) and OER Africa

OER Africa has developed three learning pathways, as part of its grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and, along with AfLIA, is piloting them with university and academic librarians on the continent. 

The pilot project focused on three learning pathways:

  • Find Open Content is a short tutorial for participants to acquire the skills necessary to search for open content, decipher Creative Commons rights and permissions and evaluate the accuracy and relevance of Open Educational Resources (OER) identified.
  • Adapt Open Content provides a rapid solution to adapting open content for new purposes. It covers adaptation options, and how to revise and remix open content.
  • Publish using Open Access explains what Open Access is, and why academics might consider publishing in this way. It goes on to discuss publishing options, guidelines, and touches on other Open movements.

I spent a few delightful hours on Zoom calls with Dr Nkem Osuigwe, who is based in Nigeria, but commutes to Accra, Ghana for work, Dr Sarah Kaddu, who is based in Kampala, Uganda and Dr Ayanda Lebele, who is based in Palapye, Botswana. 

With their shared vision, curiosity, thirst for knowledge, leadership, and a collection of PhDs, it’s not surprising that I’m in awe of these three women who, in one way or another, are stewards of library science and services on the African continent.

Dr Nkem Osuigwe, who is the Human Capacity Development and Training Director at AfLIA, chatted to me about the pilot, in which 50 librarians across Africa participated, and who, by completing these learning pathways, are testing innovative alternative approaches to continuing professional development (CPD), to reduce dependence on traditional workshop-based professional development. 

Dr Osuigwe reveals herself through anecdotes; she is a great storyteller and admits she is driven by curiosity and her love for anything that concerns reading. She is the only librarian in a family of medical professionals, her late father, husband, and children included. She explains that she holds a position of importance in her home, because doctors can’t know everything, and often turn to their in-house librarian for research assistance.  

This same thirst for knowledge, and innate hunger to find out more about how the world works led to her appointment at AfLIA and how she approaches her current position. 

As she describes it, AfLIA is the platform for all librarians in Africa to come together, learn from each other, and encourage one another. It’s a strong network of different types of libraries, as well as an advocate for better operating environments for libraries on the continent. One of her most vivid memories, from when she first started out at AfLIA, is of a goosebumps-inducing visit to a library in Nakaseke, just outside Kampala. She was struck by how much the humble, two-room establishment influenced and involved the community it served.

"This little library could get news from the radio, TV, newspapers, but also books. They knew when and where it was going to rain, the cost of seedlings, how to get better produce. They were passing this information down to members of the community, so, in turn that made the community go there to find out, ‘where do I sell my bananas today, at what price, how do I sell them, which market will give me higher prices…’ That was the first time I realized that public libraries can really do awesome things when the people that work there understand what it is all about, when they engage their user communities more."

Thanks to this need to know more, see more, and do more, coupled with her networking skills, Dr Osuigwe stumbled across open licensing. She pursued a friendship with Amna Singh of StoryWeaver on Twitter, and, through these interactions was introduced to Pratham Books (India) and its enormously appealing StoryWeaver project. This work sees the creation of openly licensed children’s storybooks that can be translated, copied, and adapted at will, because of the Creative Commons licence used. Once she had made the connection, written a book for the platform, and participated in a StoryWeaver competition to translate children’s stories, Dr Osuigwe had a better idea of the potential for open licensing, what it means for African libraries, and how children can access books in their mother tongue.

And because Dr Osuigwe goes all-in with everything she does, she continued to make fruitful connections, initially via Twitter and then in-person, between AfLIA and Wikimedia, as well as AfLIA and OER Africa. Subsequently, several productive projects have ensued. 

For the learning pathways pilot, AfLIA selected potential participants from amongst its tertiary-level librarian community. They received questionnaires to ascertain their knowledge of OER and open licensing, Open Access, and using the Internet to retrieve information. Librarians from nine universities in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda were ultimately selected. 

Dr Lebele and Dr Kaddu were two of the participants selected to participate in the pilot project, which consisted of an introductory Zoom call, followed by a call for participants for each learning pathway. The librarians had two weeks to complete the learning pathway(s) they had chosen. Participants also received pre- and post-pilot questionnaires and a user experience survey. 

For Dr Kaddu, who works as a lecturer at the East African School of Library and Information Science at Makerere University, CPD is critical, because she’s got to stay relevant to her students, who are a lot more digitally savvy than she was when she studied for the same degree. As she explains it:

"When you look at the information landscape today, you’ll see that it’s characterized by plenty, there is a lot of information available out there, so the question is, how do I navigate all this information?"

She also says that the webinars AfLIA has provided, as well as the digital skills it is supplying to support educators in their daily work, have been well received. 

"They raise awareness of existing trends that we might otherwise take a while to get to know. AfLIA, being a continental voice, has been key in unifying all that is needed on the continent, there is one place to go for guidance on curricula, for example, and it’s been very useful."

In fact, Dr Kaddu, who completed the Adapt Open Content and Publish Using Open Content learning pathways, has taken these resources and worked them into her own curriculum, so when her publishing seminars with the masters and doctoral students come up, she is teaching them a lot of what she’s just learnt. 

While Dr Osuigwe believes that much of what librarians learn during their formal education can become obsolete in five to ten years, Dr Kaddu reckons that sometimes it feels like three to six months. To counter that, she says:  

"You must continuously learn and discover what is out there to make your work better, something that is going to complement what you are doing, to make your work appreciated, otherwise your learners will challenge you. Acknowledge that there is a gap, while you are teaching, and challenge your students to help."

Prior to the pilot project, Dr Kaddu had a vague awareness of OER, and the symbols representing the various Creative Commons licensing options. However, following these tutorials, she says a lot has now been clarified for her, and in turn for her students. 

‘They were really awesome, they were well designed, the information was easy to find, the materials were very, very clear,’ she says of the tutorials, and although she only had to complete two of the three, she’s working on learning pathway one in her free time. 

Like many others in her line of work, Dr Kaddu is mindful of the fact that ‘academics are supposed to publish’. She says knowing what she now knows, she plans to publish more and is advocating for open content. 

"I really want people to put their content out in the public domain, so that it can be utilized. If we publish to a greater audience, who are available to comment on our work, we can only improve. When info is in the open, it attracts many benefits. I no longer want to have it ‘closed’ – that’s selfish, and it’s not taking Africa anywhere. We need to add on to the existing literature, content, and data we have. We want to promote our scholars."

It’s going to take some convincing though. Dr Kaddu says the initial reaction, amongst her students, to publishing using open access, is negative. She says, ‘we need to be into it, to participate in it and promote it, then they will appreciate it’.

Dr Ayanda Lebele is the Director of Library Services at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). She tells me that it’s impossible to talk about her professional self separately from her private self because ‘I’m passionate about librarianship, it’s generally who I am.’ While she has this in common with her colleagues from Nigeria and Uganda, there are other similarities in their approaches to work.

‘For it to be functional, and effective, it’s the people that matter the most,’ says Dr Lebele, describing her team of librarians or, as she sees them, her work family, at BIUST.

To this end, she has entrusted a lot of the processes around CPD to her team, directing them where necessary, but also letting them find their own way. That way, she’s constantly learning as well. 

With regards to the learning pathways, she had 16 members of her team sign up for the tutorials. It was a challenge, as they were just going into lockdown in Botswana at the time, so there was the related anxiety, difficulty in adapting to working from home, and data and device limitations. 

But she’s pleased to report that they succeeded and are still reaping the benefits. One of her team members, Winnie Jamara, was the self-appointed champion for the completion of the course work, while another, Barulaganye Hulela has taken the knowledge on board and applied it specifically to podcast development. 

‘She adapts content we get from the open access platforms and uses it to suit the BIUST context, and to disseminate information to our audience, who we no longer interact with face to face due to COVID-19,’ Dr Lebele explains. ‘Through the pathways we did, we’re able to enhance our service delivery.’ 

Just as Dr Kaddu admitted that there was some hesitancy in her students adopting the idea of open publishing, Dr Lebele has seen a similar attitude from teaching academics at her own institution. She believes that, as librarians, they have some responsibility towards changing this mindset.

‘We see ourselves as knowledge workers,’ she says.

"We don’t just manage giving people information, we also manage how they participate in knowledge creation. We have a responsibility to help those who don’t have the awareness, to know their role is not just to be reading knowledge created by other people; they also have to package their own knowledge, so that somebody else may benefit from it in a context that best suits their environment."

Having completed the Adapt Open Content and Publish Using Open Content learning pathways, Dr Lebele is a great believer in the subject matter, but would like to see a more basic introduction to open licensing and OER. She explains further, saying we need to take a step back to where people are, bring them on board and build their interest. She’s concerned that ‘people don’t see the need’. 

Dr Osuigwe shares this sentiment: 

"People inherently want to learn, but the point is that sometimes you don’t know that something exists, and so, you don’t hunger for it. Once you’re curious to know what’s happening in your field, and you dig into it, you stir up that hunger to learn."

Finally, Dr Osuigwe chatted to me about motivation, what will drive librarians to complete these tutorials, and thus embrace this unique opportunity for CPD.

With reference to open licensing and OER, she says:

"This is an area that people do not know much about, and it’s also an area that will help librarians generate more resources for their user communities. Where they can go and learn how to collaborate with others and to create resources if needs be. That’s the motivation for me! I believe that in everybody there’s a curiosity quotient, there’s that element in everyone born in this world to find out what’s next. But you know, life kind of puts out the fire in almost everyone, so what we are trying to do is to reignite that fire to find out what’s next, what can be done, how can this be achieved. This is the adventure!"

If you’d also like to get in on the adventure and find out more about open licensing and OER, you can complete the learning pathways available here on the OER Africa website.

 

Related articles:


[1] Leanne Rencken is an enthusiastic, happy person with years of experience in content creation, curation and publishing. She has travelled extensively across Africa, from Botswana where she grew up, to Nigeria, Kenya, Angola and beyond. She believes in the transformative power of great content, no matter the platform or product. Most recently this love of story-telling has led to her to pursuing travel, teaching English as a foreign language, and freelance writing and editing on a wide-range of topics.

 

 

What's New

Since 2019, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has celebrated the International Day of Education on 24 January. This, year the theme is “to invest in people, prioritize education.” This week, we draw parallels between the International Day of Education, the OER Recommendation, and OER capacity building.

Image: World Bank Photo Collection, Openverse (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The United Nations (UN) set out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. SDG 4 concerns “inclusive and equitable quality education.”[1] While there have been a number of proposals[2], it is not clear the extent to which Open Education or OER are assisting with achieving the goal, so the International Day of Education may provide a focal point for associating SDG 4 with the open education movement. The UN designates specific days, weeks, years, and decades as occasions to mark particular events or topics to promote the objectives of the organization. Since 2019, the UN’s educational arm (UNESCO) has celebrated the International Day of Education on 24 January. This, year the theme is “to invest in people, prioritize education.”

This year’s Day will call for maintaining strong political mobilization around education and chart the way to translate commitments and global initiatives into action… Education must be prioritized to accelerate progress towards all the Sustainable Development Goals against the backdrop of a global recession, growing inequalities and the climate crisis.[3]

The concept note for the International Day of Education builds on the UN Transforming Education Summit held in September 2022. It calls for strong political mobilization around education to translate commitments and global initiatives into action. The critical areas highlighted are 

  1. Foundational learning; 
  2. The green and digital transitions; 
  3. Gender equality;
  4. Education in crisis; and 
  5. Financing.

 

How do these fit with OER and the UNESCO OER Recommendation that we discussed in March 2022? While the International Day of Education does not specifically link to OER, we note that the day provides an opportunity to showcase OER within each of the critical areas, or create OER where they are not available. The concept note stresses the need to capacitate policy makers, teachers and educators to make education transformative, while one of the OER Recommendation’s areas of action is to build stakeholder capacity, as we highlight below. Here, we briefly examine each of the critical areas from the UN Transforming Education Summit, to show how OER and other available resources can help with operationalising the Recommendation.

  1. First, a key to foundational learning is literacy. The UNESCO concept note states that “six out of 10 children cannot read and understand a simple story at age 10.” Open licensing is crucial in enabling children to both learn to read and practice reading, as it provides freely accessible and downloadable resources in contexts where they may be none. The African Storybook initiative provides open access picture storybooks in the languages of Africa, while the Early Literacy Resource Network gives access to high-quality books and learning resources in multiple languages.
  2. The Commonwealth of Learning (CoL) assists learning institutions at all levels to transition to digital learning with their Technology-Enabled Learning initiative. CoL is also at the forefront of green education, as can be seen in its video on Promoting Learning for Sustainable Development. CoL’s policy is that all of its resources are openly licensed.
  3. The OER Africa post in November 2022 provided instances on how gender intersects with open resources, such as  Girls Can Code InitiativeGirl Code Africa, and the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET). A Practice Guidance note on gender equality is available here, while Oxfam has produced a book on the subject with practical examples.
  4. Ideas around education during emergencies and crises have been prevalent even before the shutdowns of 2020 and 2021. Useful openly licensed resources can be found at education in emergencies and protracted crises. Particularly useful from an educational technology standpoint is the rapid evidence review on Education in Emergencies that summarises best practices on access to education, content, support and psychosocial well-being.
  5. For the critical areas above, the financing of education is crucial. UNESCO has produced an education simulation model to assist sectors to make the best decisions on how to finance education. The World Bank is the largest financier of education in the developing world, so understanding its priorities is important for anyone involved in educational finance.

 

To operationalise the UNESCO OER Recommendation’s area of action to build capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-use, adapt and redistribute OER, it is necessary to

  • Build awareness regarding the usefulness of OER.
  • Capacitate educators at all levels to create, re-use, adapt, and redistribute OER.
  • Raise awareness regarding the advantages of Open Access works.
  • Make OER widely accessible and findable in appropriate repositories.
  • Promote digital literacy skills to enable users to develop, access and adapt OER.

OER Africa, in its association with the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA), the Association of African Universities (AAU), and selected universities on the continent, is building capacity of their members in accordance with the OER Recommendation, so that the ideals of the International Day of Education and the Sustainable Development Goals can be realised. We would welcome hearing from any interested persons who are working along similar lines; our email address is info@saide.org.za

Related articles:

 

UNESCO’s OER Recommendation contains an action area on accessibility, inclusion, and equity which addresses the underlying issues that are necessary to both produce and use OER. But what does effective, inclusive, and equitable access to quality OER mean and how is it being realized? Just as importantly, what are the inherent complexities?

Image courtesy of USAID, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

UNESCO OER Recommendation

UNESCO members states unanimously approved the OER Recommendation on November 29, 2019. It is the first international normative instrument to embrace the field of openly licensed educational materials and technologies in education and builds on almost two decades of UNESCO work on OER.

The Recommendation pinpoints five essential areas of action to build and sustain a worldwide OER ecosystem:

  1. Capacity-building;
  2. Developing supportive policies;
  3. Effective, inclusive, and equitable access to quality OER;
  4. Creation of OER sustainability models; and
  5. Use of international cooperation to foster OER.

 

UNESCO will publish guidelines on these five action areas in early 2023.[1] This communication is about action area three—effective, inclusive, and equitable access to OER—which touches on all five areas. We are focusing on areas one to three from the list below.

What does effective, inclusive, and equitable access to quality OER mean?

UNESCO’s list is quite broad:

  1. Ensuring online and offline technical access;
  2. Supporting OER stakeholders to develop gender-sensitive, culturally, and linguistically relevant OER, particularly in under-resourced and endangered languages;
  3. Ensuring that the principles and programmes are in place for gender equality, non-discrimination, accessibility, and inclusiveness;
  4. Ensuring public and private investments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and providing increased access to OER, particularly for low-income, rural, and urban communities;
  5. Incentivizing the development of, and research on, OER; and
  6. Developing and adapting existing evidence-based standards, benchmarks, and related criteria for OER quality assurance.

 

The UNESCO guidelines will discuss and analyze this and the other action areas in detail; this article provides examples of innovative ways that OER is being used in educational systems from basic to tertiary education to ensure effective, inclusive, and equitable access to quality openly licensed content.

Policies and implementation

There are some institutional and national policies on technical accessibility, which are reported on in the forthcoming UNESCO guidelines. Policies on gender, culture, and language are less entrenched. In some African countries, there are policies in place to use local languages in teaching through grade three or four.  However, a lack of sufficient content, appropriate teacher training, and public attitudes that favour English or other colonial languages, makes implementation difficult.  In Kenya, for example, the implementation of mother tongue education policy: [2]

'is likely to flop if it is not supported by careful implementation strategies that take care of teacher training, the production of teaching/learning materials and attempts to change the attitudes of parents towards indigenous languages.'

In Sierra Leone, the politics of language complicate policies in favour of learning in local languages: [3]

'People are looking at it like, if you are literate in mother tongue, what will you eat? Will it get you a job? Are you even considered literate?'

The UNESCO OER Recommendation requires governments to report to UNESCO annually on their progress in meeting the Recommendation using an accepted list of criteria. Governments will begin reporting in 2023. Progress in meeting all of the action areas in the OER Recommendation will be known as reporting continues, including this action item on accessibility, inclusion, and equity.

Online and offline technical access

According to the Recommendation, all content created for the Internet, whether it is used online or offline, must meet certain technical standards to ensure that resources can be accessed by the visually, hearing, or otherwise impaired individuals

In a 2021 briefing paper co-published by UNESCO and the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD), the organizations identified six barriers to accessible OER for people with disabilities or those who are underserved in education: [4]

  • Languages used in the creation of resources (particularly for English language learners) and the readability level; [5]
  • Images, charts, and figures which are instrumental to the text, however, do not include alternative text; [6]
  • Multimedia such as video, which does not include transcripts or closed caption; [7]
  • Lack of access to digital technology for learning; [8]
  • Poor assistive technology compatibility with OER; and [9]
  • Locating appropriate OER resources can be difficult. [10]

Figure 1: CUNY accessibility logo

The City University of New York (CUNY) in the United States has created an OER accessibility toolkit to assist librarians, faculty, staff, and developers meet some of the challenges enumerated by UNESCO and UNPRPD. [11]  It does not address problems associated with languages, for example, or locating accessible OER resources.

The toolkit contains information on:

Creating Accessible Content: Tips on how to create accessible Word documents, PDFs, images, videos and other multimedia.

Platforms: Which OER platforms are accessible? What are the pros and cons of each one?

Evaluating your OER site: Determine if your site is accessible and see how to fix issues on your site.

Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs): Collection of VPATs from various vendors to see relevant information on how a vendor’s product or service claims to conform to IT standards for people with disabilities. (Section 508 Standards in the US Rehabilitation Act).

The University of British Columbia in Canada has published a similar open education toolkit, which is far more detailed than the one produced by CUNY.

There may be a disjuncture in how different authorities determine what is entailed in accessibility.  UNESCO includes language, gender, and culture in the OER Recommendation.  CUNY, UBC, and other universities examine the technical aspects of accessibility, but not the broader societal issues that also impact on the ability to people to use content.

Much has been written about accessibility policies and there are clearly excellent toolkits available, but it is not always easy to identify accessible OER to support diverse learners. Accessible OERs are not readily apparent on relevant hubs and in Google searches. This appears to be an unmet need for anyone who wants to adapt existing content that is already accessible.  In an interview with University World News, Kesah Princely, a blind PhD student in conflict resolution at the University of Buea in Cameroon, outlined some of the accessibility problems he and other students face: [12]

'The challenges are quite enormous. The library is inaccessible to blind students because there are no books in Braille, nor are there audio recorded materials. Infrastructure-wise, it is also not accessible to people in wheelchairs. Some of these students with disabilities are not even aware of the school library, just because things are not well explained to them.

Also, the curriculum is not well designed to suit learners with different abilities. It becomes very difficult for us with visual impairment to comprehend some key courses, especially those which have to do with images. Photojournalism is an example. In other areas, like mathematics and diagrams, the lecturers lack the requisite skills to explain the concepts to learners with visual impairment.'

Gender, cultural, and linguistically sensitive OER

Below are some instances on how gender, culture, and language intersect with content and its use. Not all the examples are openly licensed, but they provide ways to ensure that inclusion is an essential consideration. There is nothing to stop you, the reader, from modelling your efforts on the ideas given in these examples and using an open licence.

Gender

Use of the Internet and other technologies are now essential, for education and much else. UNICEF reports the disparities between the sexes both as users and designers of technology:

'There is a gender digital divide: girls are disadvantaged when it comes to digital adoption, have lower levels of access to and use of digital technology than boys, and often they are not benefitting from digital technology in the same way as boys.'[13]

The UNICEF office for East Asia and the Pacific therefore produced a toolkit of best practices, to support innovators, designers, and implementers of digital products and services, to benefit girls and young women equally and help close the gender digital divide.

Figure 2: Blowing bubbles and writing code at Girls Code Africa

The Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) puts ideas about gender-based best practices and training to work. WOUGNET, which partners with many different international organizations, including UN Women, has a mission of promoting the use of ICTs by women and girls for gender equality and sustainable development. There are also many programmes to teach African females of different ages how to code, such as the African Girls Can Code Initiative and Girl Code Africa.

Programs carried out by WOUGNET and the ones to teach girls coding, empower females with the kinds of skills they require in their work and studies.  WOUGNET focuses on adult women in training, technical support, networking, and advocacy to empower women.  Its workshop on digital security training, for example, showed how social media platforms can be misused to the detriment of women’s safety [14]. Coding is important for a number of reasons.  According to the British organization, Funtech, girls who learn to code improve in math, writing, and creativity.  Coding also offers girls admission into a variety of tech careers. [15]

Openly licensed digital story platforms, such as African Storybook and StoryWeaver, have numerous stories promoting the roles of girls and women. StoryWeaver has a special section for middle readers on challenging gender stereotypes, which includes a boy who is mocked because he wants to dance and a girl who lifts weights.

Culture and language

In 2019 UNESCO celebrated a Year of Indigenous Languages and marked this effort by releasing the Los Pinos Declaration in 2020. In this document and elsewhere, UNESCO integrates culture and language with several key principles including:

'Centrality of indigenous peoples – ‘Nothing for us without us’, according to the principle of self-determination; the right to use, develop, revitalize, and transmit languages orally and in written forms to future generations which reflect the insights and values of indigenous peoples, their identities and traditional knowledge systems and cultures; the equal treatment of indigenous languages with respect to other languages; and the effective and inclusive participation of indigenous peoples in consultation, planning and implementation of processes based on their free, prior and informed consent right from the start of any development initiative as well as the recognition of the specific barriers and challenges faced by indigenous women, whose identity, cultural traditions and forms of social organization enhance and strengthen the communities in which they live.' [16]

Initiatives that focus on the use of mother-tongue languages sometimes also incorporate gender into their efforts. In 2016, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning reported on one such instance on maternal health, literacy, and language. In Bolivia, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport worked in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund to implement a bilingual literacy project in reproductive health. The project was instituted in response to high levels of illiteracy and high maternal and infant mortality rates among poor people, particularly those from indigenous populations. It employed a gender-based approach and primarily targeted women. Learning was conducted in both indigenous languages and in Spanish. This bilingual approach is vital because it helps learners to comprehend the issues covered, while drawing on the learners' experiences and cultural sensitivities. This initiative was then implemented in Paraguay, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Guatemala, with coordination and support from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL/ ECLAC). [17]

In Canada, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indigenous Services Canada works collaboratively with partners to improve access to high quality services for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. Resources on the platform have been created by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, and various Indigenous organizations, with a vision to support and empower indigenous peoples to independently deliver services and tackle the socio-economic conditions in their communities. COVID-19 awareness resources are available in English, French, and languages spoken by the indigenous peoples of Canada. [18]

Turning to the youngest learners and nascent readers, Dorcas Wepukhulu of African Storybook explained the importance of using local languages and familiar images as follows:

'For children’s literacy material to be equitable and inclusive, it must be appropriate for the child’s context and age, with images that make sense to the child and support the meaning of the written text, it must also be available, accessible and affordable. With technology and open licensing, ASb aims to get storybooks to every child learning to read, in a language that is familiar to them; with content that speaks to their interests, and experience.' [19]

Interconnections and complexity

The UNESCO OER Recommendation is about creation and utilization of openly-licensed content.  This action area on accessibility, inclusion, and equity addresses the underlying issues that are necessary to both produce and use OER.  Governmental policies and implementation are critical to the success of the Recommendation if it is to have benefit. Some areas are technical, but others impact on cultural assumptions, towards language, for instance, or girls’ education.  The complexity of action item three is therefore notable.


References

[1] Guideline authors include OER experts in the action areas covered by the UNESCO OER Recommendation and listed in alphabetical order: Tel Amiel, Javiera Atenas, Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Neil Butcher, Lisbeth Levey, Ahmed Tlili, and Zeynep Varoglu

[2] MANDILLAH, Lucy. Kenyan curriculum reforms and mother tongue education: Issues, challenges and implementation strategies. Educ. as change [online]. 2019, vol.23, n.1 [cited  2022-11-18], pp.1-18. Available from: <http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-9417201.... ISSN 1947-9417.  http://dx.doi.org/10.25159/1947-9417/3379

[3] “Mother tongue won’t help you eat”: Language politics in Sierra Leone. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/345815874

[4] https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000380471

[5] Rets, I., Coughlan, T., Stickler, U., & Astruc, L. (2020). Accessibility of Open Educational Resources: how well are they suited for English learners? Open Learning, 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680513.2020.1769585 (This journal requires a subscription to access articles or a fee of $47 for purchase.)

[6] Coolidge, A., Doner, S., Robertson, T., & Gray, J. (2018). BCcampus open education: Accessibility toolkit (2nd ed.). https://opentextbc.ca/accessibilitytoolkit/

[7] Ibid.

[8] UNICEF. (2021). Responding to COVID-19: UNICEF annual report 2020. https://www.unicef.org/media/100946/file/ UNICEF Annual Report 2020.pdf

[9] Zhang, X., Tlili, A., Nascimbeni, F., Burgos, D., Huang, R., Ting-Wen Chang, Jemni, M., & Mohamed, K. K. (2020). Accessibility within open educational resources and practices for disabled learners: A systematic literature review. Smart Learning Environments, 7(1), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40561-019-0113-2

[10] Anderston, T., Doney, J., Hendrix, B., Martinez, J., Stoddart, R., & Wright, M. (2019). The five laws of OER: Observations from Ranganathan. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 7(1), https://www.iastatedigitalpress.com/jlsc/article/id/12846/

[11] CUNY OER accessibility toolkit, last updated 2021. https://guides.cuny.edu/accessibility/home

[12] Njie, Paul. (2022). All students must learn about inclusive education – Activist. University World News. https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=202211161601561

[13] https://www.unicef.org/eap/innovation-and-technology-gender-equality

[14] https://wougnet.org/website/news/newsingle/70

[15] https://funtech.co.uk/latest/why-should-girls-learn-to-code

[16] https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/los_pinos_declaration_170720_en.pdf

[17] https://uil.unesco.org/case-study/effective-practices-database-litbase-0/bilingual-literacy-and-reproductive-health-bolivia

[18] https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1586548069915/1586548087539

[19] https://www.earlyliteracynetwork.org/blog/how-do-we-ensure-quality-equitable-and-inclusive-education-all-early-literacy-qa-part-3-3

The Association of African Universities (AAU), in collaboration with Saide, invite all suitably qualified persons to respond to this call for the pilot course entitled: 'Continuous Professional Development course for University Leaders.'

                                                                                     

Background

The Association of African Universities (AAU) whose headquarters is in Accra, Ghana (www.aau.org and www.blog.aau.org) invites all suitably qualified persons to respond to this call for the pilot course entitled: Continuous Professional Development course for University Leaders. The course will be presented in collaboration with Saide. The AAU is the Apex Body and Voice of Higher Education in Africa, the implementing arm of the African Union on Higher and Tertiary Education matters as well as the Coordinator for the African Union Commission’s Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 2015-2025) Cluster on Higher Education. The AAU works in four languages - Portuguese, Arabic, English and French. Therefore, facilitators from these linguistic backgrounds are encouraged to respond to this call. Kindly complete the online form through this link which you can copy and paste onto any browser. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PILOT16ONLINE9LEADERSHIP2022

Aim
The aim of this course is to enable university leaders to change and improve the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) strategy or develop one if their institution does not have such a strategy.

Course Objectives
By the end of the course participants should
i) be able to address questions related to establishing and improving CPD at an institution
ii)  be able to figure out how purposeful academic professional development can take place in their institutions, and how it can be changed and improved.
iii) have a tool that you can share and discuss with colleagues and complete, adapt and implement in your own time.

Start date

Monday 17 October 2022, 13h00 GMT

The course will be offered in English only. It will later be translated into other languages.

For more information, access the document below.