Slovenia is becoming one of the leading countries in the field of Open Educational Resources (OER), hosting the 2nd World OER Congress to be held at Cankarjev Dom Congress Centre in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 18 – 20 September 2017. The Congress will mark 15 years since the term “Open Educational Resources” was first coined at UNESCO and 5 years since the inaugural World OER Congress took place at UNESCO, resulting in the 2012 Paris OER Declaration. OER refer to any educational materials made available by authors and institutions under open licenses, to be used and adapted freely for teaching, learning and research purposes.
Gašper Hrastelj, National Focal Point for the World OER Congress
Q:What do you expect from the 2nd World OER Congress in Ljubljana?
The 2nd World OER Congress will bring together Ministers of Education and Higher Education and decision-makers, expert practitioners, researchers and relevant stakeholders. The Congress will build on the outcomes of six regional consultations on OER hosted in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Valletta (Malta), Doha (Qatar), Port Louis (Mauritius), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Auckland (New Zealand), organised by the Commonwealth of Learning.
The theme of the 2nd World OER Congress is “OER for Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education: from Commitment to Action”, reflecting the role that OER can play in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in particular Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education).
The Congress itself will address the following three central objectives: (1) Examine solutions to meeting the challenges of mainstreaming OER practices in education systems worldwide; (2) Showcase the world´s best practices in OER policies, initiatives and experts; (3) Provide recommendations for the mainstreaming of OER with links to best practices.
As organisers, we are expecting the participation of more than 300 experts and stakeholders from all over the world, among them also some Ministers of Education and Higher Education.
Q: What is the importance of the 2nd World OER Congress for Ljubljana and Slovenia?
Slovenia is becoming one of the leading countries in the field of Open Education and Open Educational Resources (OER) worldwide. To host the 2nd World OER Congress in Ljubljana was a formal proposal by the Slovenian Government, supported and confirmed by UNESCO and the international community – which is an important recognition for Slovenia.
The reasons why Slovenia has been chosen as host of the Congress are determined in a number of recent successful developments:
- Slovenia provides solutions to the United Nations SDG 4 objective for the Education 2030 Agenda. Slovenia is one of the leading countries in Open Education worldwide with the objective to create a “prototype” country that develops, tests, deploys and combines Open Education on a national level throughout formal and informal education.
- February 2013 – The services of Net (www.videolectures.net) were recognized by the UN and UNESCO as one of the most outstanding examples of creative and innovative e-content in the category of “e-Science and Technology” in the world during the last decade.
- November 2013 – the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport announces the launch of the OpeningUpSlovenia Initiative.
- April 2014 – OpeningUpSlovenia was officially launched during the Open Education Global Conference hosted by Slovenia under the patronage of UNESCO. Slovenia strategically committed to become a reference country in the development and deployment of Open Education. OpeningUpSlovenia is a platform aligning education to the 21st Digital Century. It includes stakeholders (from kindergardens to universities, research to business and government) in a nationwide initiative to explore and change education influencing bottom up policies.
- September 2014 – Establishment of a UNESCO Chair on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning at the “Jožef Stefan” Research Institute in Ljubljana.
- September 2015 – Adoption of the National Strategy 2015-2020 of Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data.
- The Slovenian Government fully recognizes the importance of the 2nd World OER Congress unanimously and supports the organization of the Congress. The Congress will be the largest international event taking place in Slovenia in 2017.
- Slovenia notes the need that UNESCO continues to play the leading global role in the development and promotion of OER.
As organizers, we do expect that Slovenia´s role in international cooperation on OER and Open Education after the Congress will be even stronger. The Congress will be a unique opportunity for Slovenia to strengthen its international, regional and local visibility, as well as Slovenia´s relevance in the above mentioned areas of interest.