Stakeholders Validate National Policy on Open Education Resources

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A total of 340 participants have considered, finalised and adopted the draft national policy document on Open Education Resources (OER) following a motion by a member and Advisor of the National Steering Committee on Open Educational Resources (NSC-OER), Professor Peter Okebukola.

The participants included vice-chancellors, rectors, provosts, librarians and directors of ICT of Nigerian universities, polytechnics and colleges of education; representatives of national and international non-governmental organisations, embassies and tertiary education regulatory agencies in Nigeria [National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE)], among others, who had earlier received copies of the draft document for their inputs.

With the validation, the document is ready for the approval of the National Council on Education (NCE) and Nigeria, hitherto missing from the world map of OER, can now take its place.

The move by the stakeholders is aimed at addressing the dearth of learning resources in quality, quantity and currency in higher education in the country.

Speaking at one-day stakeholders’ validation symposium held recently at the NUC, Abuja, the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah, who declared the symposium open, recalled that the OER movement gained considerable visibility in 2001 when Charles Vest, the then President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), announced its intention to put all of its course materials online for the benefit of all.

He said the decision resulted in the Open Course Ware (OCW) Project, which four years after, included over a thousand courses, adding that as a result of the initiative, Open Content Consortia are being formed by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the world.

The minister, who was represented by the Director, Education Support Services, Mrs. Justina Ibe, challenged participants to come up with beneficial, cutting-edge inputs, which would add value to the policy. “Your contributions here will go down in history as the contributions that will help in charting a path for greatness for present and future Nigerians. I stand assured that with this special core of very experienced men and women that have distinguished themselves in various positions, we will together chart a course for sustainable educational development using OER as an instrument.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the convener of NSC-OER and Executive Secretary, NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, disclosed that Nigeria currently has about 585 tertiary institutions (universities, polytechnics, monotechnics, colleges of education, federal colleges of agriculture, colleges of health technology and vocational educational institutions) to serve a population of over 180 million.

“It is crystal clear from the above that the problem of access to higher education in Nigeria continues to be a serious challenge and the need to redouble our efforts to address same cannot be over-emphasised. Inadequate access to tertiary education and enrolment of students in excess of the carrying capacity of the higher institutions has consequently remained a recurring decimal at the tertiary level.

“The national policy on OER for higher education in Nigeria is government’s effort at ensuring a planned and deliberate approach in the development and improvement of quality teaching and learning materials, curricula, programmes and course design, as well as planning effective contact with students. With the development of this policy, government hopes to address the issues of access to quality higher education and enrolment of students in excess of the carrying capacity by existing higher institutions in Nigeria.”

The convener explained that the policy is a concise document comprising the key elements of mission, vision, goals, its definition and scope, intellectual property rights and licences, curriculum design and material development.

“It also includes OER in teaching and learning, capacity building, infrastructure and connectivity, quality assurance, implementation strategies and institutional arrangements,” Rasheed said.