A new OER initiative in Africa

Educational institutions in developing countries generally do not have the finances for large scale development of course materials, but if all the institutions contribute a bit and share in the development of materials, then big strides can be made. This is the philosophy of Open Educational Resources (OER).

Here is a new OER initiative in Africa and this is what their website has to say:

OER Africa was launched as an innovative new project, under the auspices of the South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE).

This pan-African project is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, and envisioned to play a leading role in driving the development and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) within higher education across the African continent.

OER Africa was established in the firm belief that OER has a powerful positive role to play in developing and capacitating higher education systems and institutions across Africa. This conviction is matched by concern that – if the concept and practice of OER evolves predominantly outside and for Africa – then African higher education will not be able to liberate its potential for itself. Thus, OER Africa has been set up to ensure that the power of OER is harnessed by Africans for Africans by building collaborative networks across the continent. The premise of OER Africa is that it will facilitate the aggregation of information and human expertise that produces knowledge – an activity which can either be individual, or inter-institutional. In order to continually test this premise, OER has not only developed an action research Agenda, but also sought the counsel and support of an Advisory Group of experts in various aspects of higher education.

Seed funding has been provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a Foundation which has successfully supported the development of a number of open educational resources initiatives such as the MIT OpenCourseWare in the United States.

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