Joint Statement on the Use of OER in the Covid-19 Response

Paris (F), May 2020 - In response to the massive disruption of education due to the Covid-19 pandemic affecting 1.57 billion learners in 191 countries, UNESCO has issued a Call to support learning and knowledge sharing through Open Educational Resources (OER) worldwide.

OER are learning, teaching, and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright released under an open license, permitting no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation, and redistribution by others. In November 2019, Member States adopted a Recommendation on OER at UNESCO's General Conference, committing to promote their use for the open sharing of knowledge and learning.

"The Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a paradigm shift on how learners of all ages, worldwide, can access learning. Therefore, it is essential more than ever that the global community comes together now to foster universal access to information and knowledge through OER," reads the Call, co-signed by UNESCO’s Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, and Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education. It also states, "Our joint action aims at managing the challenges of this and future pandemic crisis for learners, as well as laying the foundation for integrating systematically best practices to increase the sharing of knowledge for the post-Covid-19 future of learning."

The Call encourages implementation of the OER Recommendation, which identifies actions in five main areas: capacity building and use of OER; developing supportive policy; promoting effective, inclusive, and equitable access to quality OER; nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER; and fostering and facilitating international cooperation.

This Call also highlights the important role of the recently launched Covid-19 Global Education Coalition and the Dynamic OER Coalition, a multi-stakeholder group dedicated to sharing expertise in order to facilitate and support joint actions.