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OER policies: A global perspective on what works


A global study and experiences from Africa, Asia and Europe revealed the rich tapestry of OER policy development, in an OER Dynamic Coalition Webinar held last June.

You can’t jump into developing policy on OER, capacity to use OER is fundamental.

Dr Catherine Cronin, Strategic Education Developer

The Webinar highlighted success factors of policy approaches adopted by different institutions and governments. Dr Atenas, Senior Lecturer at University of Suffolk, presented a study conducted by the Open Education Policy Lab, Open Education Policies: Guidelines for co-creation.

This study illustrates the heterogenous nature of OER policy, demonstrating that in parallel with existing stand-alone policies on OER, very often OER aspects are integrated into other governmental policies relating to ICT, education or labour markets. The document also provides an overview of key themes of OER policies in different regions. According to Dr Atenas, the success of OER policy depends on whether its development reflects the major characteristics of OER, such as collaboration and openness.

In the Sahel Region, UNESCO’s office in Dakar has developed the Sahel Action Plan on OER uptake at the governmental, higher education and school levels. Michel Kenmoe, UNESCO's Communication and Information Advisor in Dakar underscored the special case of Burkina Faso, where UNESCO has provided OER capacity building as part of its support for the establishment of a virtual university and national strategy on OER.

In the area of inclusive OER, through a collaborative process undertaken in Malaysia, a draft national inclusive OER policy has been presented to the government for review. This draft policy addresses OER that are accessible for persons with disabilities. This is one of the first initiatives in the area of accessible OER worldwide. 

Dr Catherine Cronin, Strategic Education Developer at the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in Ireland pointed out the need to build on existing infrastructure for OER policies. She highlighted that while many institutions to date have policies for Open Access to Scientific Journals (OA), few have policies for OER.


UNESCO's Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER) is the only normative instrument in the field of technology and education. It identifies five areas for action:

  1. capacity building to create, access, reuse, adapt and redistribute OER;
  2. supportive policy;
  3. inclusive and equitable access to quality OER;
  4. sustainability models for OER; and
  5. international cooperation.

The Dynamic Coalition for OER was created following the adoption of the UNESCO Recommendation on OER by Member States at the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2019. The aim of the Dynamic Coalition is to support governments in the implementation of the OER Recommendation by promoting and strengthening international and regional cooperation among all stakeholders in the first four areas of the UNESCO OER Recommendation.