Organized by UNESCO and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the regional forum opened the way for a variety of issues, including wide ranging exchange of information, collaborative activities and gave the Latin American perspective to the draft of the World Declaration.
Delegates from the governments of Guatemala, Brazil, El Salvador, Chile, Costa Rica, Paraguay and Uruguay, along with representatives of civil society groups, made contributions to the draft of the “Declaration on open Educational Resources”. The document is to be published at the world congress on the issue, to be held between 20 and 22 June in Paris, with the aim of providing a significant impulse to governments worldwide to support the development and usage of OERs.
“The Forum was a complete success, with extensive exchange of information, substantial contributions to the OER Declaration project, and the creation of solid partnerships between governments, civil society, and representatives of the academic world” said Abel Cain, OER Programme Specialist at the UNESCO Communication and Information sector.
Mayara Nascimento, a delegate from the government of Brazil, said that “the forum made clear the importance of the issue in the region, and the delegates’ interest in seeing their own experiences and opinions reflected in the wider consensus reached between UNESCO Member States. It is important that the Paris Declaration must reflect the diversity of experiences and perspectives on Open Educational Resources throughout the world. For Brazil, this was a unique opportunity for the country to express its opinion and learn about the experiences of other countries in the region, which are its close partners in education matters”.
Civil society was also strongly represented at this regional forum. Claudio Ruiz, Latin America coordinator for Creative Commons, was among the participants. “The production, distribution, and accessibility of open educational resources is very important, especially for developing countries. In this regard the forum, and UNESCO in particular, play a key role in promoting the production of these resources and their availability through free and open licences such as the Creative Commons licences, and to help to establish an explicit policy among our countries regard the generation of these resources,” said Ruiz.
Meanwhile, Sebastián Barrientos, director of Enlaces and a representative of the Government of Chile at this meeting, stated that "the forum was a very productive event because it allows progress to be made in coordinating efforts with other countries in the creation of open resources, as the production and maintenance of content is made far easier by the fact that our countries share language and culture. I think that this is an advantage that must not be ignored in order to make faster progress in education and to obtain the maximum leverage from new technologies".
Coming regional forums in advance of the world congress:
• Europe. Cambridge, United Kingdom, 17 April.
• Asia. Bangkok, Thailand, 23 and 24 April.
• Arab States. Muscat, Oman, 7 and 8 May.
• Fostering Governmental Support for OER Internationally
World OER Congress
• Open Educational Resources (UNESCO)