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Proposal For Adopting The Use Of Open Educational Resource And Embracing Open Schooling In Senior Secondary Schools In Education District 1 Lagos

By 18th October 2022No Comments22 min read

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Article contributed by Stephanie Akinwoya

1.0 Executive Summary

 

This is a report for the top management team of education district 1, under the ministry of education Lagos which is in charge of 58 junior secondary schools and 41 senior secondary schools mainly located in underserved communities. The district management board has little experience with open educational practices, but with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic exposing the harsh realities of our educational system is seeking different pathways to enhance learning and make learning more accessible to students in school and out of school.

The central focus of this report is the exploration of new strategies that the district can employ to increase access while improving the quality of education (Komakech 2017).it is based on analysis of research and development in open educational practices in terms of the production, adoption and use of OER and open schooling in secondary schools in developing countries. This report proposes a policy for the creation /repurposing of OER sustainably to yield a higher quality of curriculum-based learning materials for effective and efficient teaching, improving access to quality education for students in school and out of school, thereby, improving success and completion rate.

The UNESCO EFA global monitoring report 2010, reiterates open schooling as an urgent need to provide access to education for millions of children who currently have no access to formal education .2018 UNICEF survey gives the number of out of school children in Nigeria at 13.2 million,38% of which are females with more than 84 thousand girls out of school in Lagos state. It is quite evident that the present infrastructure available in our public conventional schools cannot accommodate the high demand for secondary education. The report examines the dual use of OER adapted to local context for innovative and effective teaching and also in open schooling to ensure that education is accessible to all students within the district .it outlines the enormous impact the OER/open schooling initiative could have on realizing district educational goals and proposes a vision statement for the initiative within a policy framework for the production and use of OER and open schooling, in line with goals as stated in the vision statement.it provides a recommended policy statement and implementation plan inferred from gap analysis identifies stakeholders in implementing the policy, stating their roles and responsibilities in developing and sustaining the initiatives, (Fengchen et al 2018). It also emphasizes the need for training of personnel involved in accessing OER, to understand open licensing and copyright and how to adapt OER to the local context in line with curriculum requirements. Furthermore, it explains the need for a quality assurance monitoring mechanism to be put in place to evaluate the achievement of set goals of the initiatives. The benefits of embracing these initiatives and the risks and challenges envisaged in the course of implementation are also itemized.

 

1.1 introduction and background

“Education is a yardstick for every country’s political and socio-economic development and acts as a basis for reducing inequality by enabling the use of new technology, creating and spreading knowledge”(Komakech 2017). Every child has a right to quality education as stated in SDG4. However, access to quality education in terms of quality educational resources used in teaching or access to learning remains a problem today in most developing nations (Ferreira 2013). Educational systems around the world are seeking ways to become more inclusive, increase the quality of education, be more responsive to the needs of the society and provide lifelong learning opportunities(Ljubljana Action Plan 2017).these are attainable if open education in terms of using context adapted OER are utilized in teaching and open schooling is embraced to cater for the teeming population of out of school children, thereby making education accessible to a broad range of learners(Commonwealth of Learning 2008). The use of OER provides stakeholders in education the opportunity to improve the quality of education, expanding access to textbooks and other learning content to bring about the innovative use of content and promote knowledge creation(*UNESCO 2017).

 

Definition of terms

Open educational resource: These are materials used to support education that may be freely accessed. reused, modified and shared by anyone (Downes 2011). OER enables open licensing which gives the users freedom and permanent permission to adapt, repurpose and reuse. OER include videos, images, open textbooks, course materials, lectures, podcasts, infographics etc. (De Los Arcos et al 2015). According to five freedoms of OER (Wiley 2014) these learning objects can be retained, reused, revised, remixed and redistributed.

Open learning: “Open learning’ is a term that incorporates several different elements, which includes open educational resources (OER), open access and open pedagogy. Openness has multiple meanings – open as in, accessible, open as in transparent, open as in open to all. It’s not just about removing access barriers and welcoming learners in, it’s also about giving them opportunities to develop as well as access to resources that support that development.” (open university 2019).it is education without academic admission requirements enabling students who have been out of school for a long time due to factors such as disability or poverty can access educational opportunities irrespective of their academic qualification. Open education broadens access to the learning and training, eliminating barriers that can preclude both opportunities and recognition for participation in institution-based learning. (Wikipedia)

 

Examples of open educational initiatives in the use of OER

A) African storybook initiative-: this initiative was put in place to overcome the challenges of not having enough books in African language for effective early literacy development, due to book shortages, few African children learnt how to read well or enjoy reading. “The African storybook initiative helped develop an alternate way of using the internet, ICT and OER to produce and deliver quality stories in local lingua to African children (Welch and Glennie 2016). Also available on its website are open-licensed stories and tools for translating or creating stories.

B) Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development ORELT project: The open resource for English language teaching(ORELT) project was aimed at supporting classroom activities of teachers in the junior secondary schools in Kenya in providing a bank of open content multimedia resources as an alternative (Ochieng and Erastus )

Open schooling: it is a flexible educational system which allows learners to learn using several learning/teaching methods to support learning. Learners can also learn online, physically away from a school or a teacher using ICT to bridge the gap and provide education and training (Abrioux 2009, Komakech 2013). the development of quality open educational resource can serve a dual purpose in conventional schools as well as its use in open schooling programs (Ferreira 2013, Commonwealth of learning 2013)

 

In 2016 (commonwealth of learning 2017 open schooling report records that more than 263 million children and youths were out of school, with more than 200million of them of secondary school age. With Nigeria as a case study, it is observed that though some low-income families can afford to send their children to school, they are financially incapable of sending them to private secondary schools. With this teeming population of students of secondary school age, the mainstream public schools in developing countries cannot address this educational crisis, as coping with even the present enormous number of students in schools with limited resources and inadequate infrastructure is already a challenge(commonwealth of learning 2017). This fact is further reiterated by a UNESCO 2017 report stating that ‘the demand for secondary school education is rising faster than primary education in Africa, hence the demand for secondary education cannot be met with only the conventional face to face classroom model. (Komakech 2017).one of the targets of SDG 4 is to ensure that all boys and girls have access to quality primary and secondary education by 2030, this cannot be achieved unless a new approach to schooling is adopted. The open schooling model can address this problem without having a disruptive effect on mainstream conventional schooling (Commonwealth of learning 2017).

Open schooling is a key strategy for increasing access to secondary education and equalizing educational opportunities for learners regardless of their socioeconomic background (Ferreira 2013). Open schooling is a flexible educational system which allows learners to learn using several teaching methods to support learning which could be physically away from a school and a teacher, leveraging technology to bridge separation and provide education and training (Abrioux 2009, Komakech 2013).

 

Examples Of Open Schooling Initiatives

I) Zambia commonwealth of learning open innovative schooling-: this initiative is a model with four interrelated phases, developing, piloting, scaling and mainstream through the directorate for distance

II) Zimbabwe has an open learning scheme where a group of students meet, studying towards acquiring an O’level or an A’level certificate. This learning scheme has been in existence since 1994, having an average enrollment of 20.000 students per year (Mafunga 1998). this scheme widens access to basic education especially for the girl child, many other countries within sub-Saharan Africa such as Namibia, Seychelles, Mauritius, South Africa and most recently Nigeria have also introduced different forms of open schooling to increase access and the quality of education in secondary schools (Komakech 2017)

 

Policy Recommendation

Public policy is about solving problems (Allen et al 2013), in this case, the problem of lack of up to date cutting edge pedagogical learning designs to ensure students academic success in school and under the open schooling program is a real problem. To ensure that the creation/adoption and use of OER in the district are achievable, effective and sustainable certain policies must be put in place. The OER/open schooling initiative policy is to encourage the creation and use of public domain-based learning materials in secondary schools under established curriculum standards for educational purposes for the district. (Plotkin 2010). The OER/Open schooling policy, in this case, is a set of statutes, rules and course of action that would facilitate the creation or improvement of existing OER to improve students’ success (Shockey et al 2013).

The goals/vision of the policy is to provide regular students and others not in school under the open schooling program with a high-quality learning resource that is freely accessible to augment learning materials they presently use such as textbooks, to provide a domain of sustainable academic resource for the use of student and teachers (Kanter2009 as opined by Plotkin 2010).

 

Policy Assumptions

The application, creation and sustainability of OER will result in a higher quality of curriculum and learning materials, efficient and effective teaching, improved students access both regular and in open schooling, improved access, performance and completion rate.

 

Purpose Statement

This policy guides the district in achieving the following objectives-: developing, sharing and reviewing and utilizing OER within the district to increase access to enhance learning opportunities for all students in the district, improve the teaching by providing adequate and appropriate learning objects, thereby enhancing students’ learning experience.

 

Policy Statement

All materials released on the OER@District 1 site are covered under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (CC BY-SA). This license allows you freely modify, remix and repurpose any of the material, and later distribute it under the following two conditions: You must provide attribution to the creator of the material, and you must license your derivative version under the same license (CC BY-SA). 

If you contribute material to OER@Distrist1, you must be the owner of the material, and you must consent to release the material under the CC BY-SA license as part of the submission process.

The district encourages teachers to use, create and publish OER to enhance the quality of the student experience, provided that the resources are fit-for-purpose and relevant and the Use, creation and publication of OER are consistent with the districts’, values and mission statement.OER generated will be incorporated in the open schooling initiative to improve access to educational access for out of school children in district1.

 

Oer Procedures And Responsibilities

Gap Analysis

To implement this policy, there is a need to examine where we are now as a district in terms of access and students’ performance and our target assuming the policy objectives of the initiatives are achieved. Objectives in terms of the training level required to close the gap of lack of knowledge of OER in the district because personnel involved should all have an understanding on the need to leverage OER in achieving SDG 4 within policy context and resources required for effective implementation of the initiatives.

Training policy implementers-: the users of OER(teachers), have to be involved in the creator and repurposing process. I recommend a survey be made for teachers and quality assurance officers within the district to determine how many of these officers have an understanding of what an OER is, have made use of OER or created OER in the course of teaching. These people will be the first set of personnel for training on courses such as the presently ongoing OER free course on open education, copyright and open licensing LIDA103. These teachers will in turn train and mobilize other teachers in their locality facilitating their participation in content development. (Ferreira & Gauther 2013).

Teachers will undergo intensive capacity building in various aspects of course design (Ferreira & Gauther 2013) and will be taught on how to access OER suitable for secondary school for OER courseware such as Hippocampus, Next-generation learning objects in eGranary, digital library project(internet in a box), digitized library collection resource such as khan academy, OER encyclopedia such as Wikipedia, open textbooks such as wikieducator. In addition they should be taught on how to make use of online tools that would make it easier to find, use create and distribute OER (Plotkin 2010) such as the creative commons which offers various standard licenses that give creators OER a lot of options on how their materials can be used by others. They will also be taught on how to use existing technology in line with pedagogical practices and open learning management systems such as google classroom or Edmodo (Plotkin 2010). 

They will also be taught on how to create OER that are learner-centered in that they use up to date pedagogy that is aligned with curriculum requirements and students needs. The training of the implementers of the policy is of paramount importance if the initiatives are to be effective and sustainable.

 

Identifying Stakeholders

The stakeholders for this program includes teachers, quality assurance officers, OER consultants and experts, policymakers from the ministry of education, top district management team, support bodies that promote OER such as the commonwealth of learning and UNESCO. All stakeholders should be engaged in the policy planning endorsement and implementation process to ensure commitment to its adoption and implementation.

 

Quality Assurance

To ensure the quality of OER and best copyright practices are followed I recommend that a monitoring and evaluation mechanism be put in place consisting of OER consultants and experts. This team of experts will access OER produced in the district in terms of its usability(if it is fit for purpose, clear concise and coherent)accessibility to end-users in the relevant context, its portability in terms of if it is downloadable and printable, on the quality of its instructional design on the content, how inclusive it is for students with disabilities, the media aesthetics of OER, the level of learning assessment built in it, they will also be responsible for the technical aspect of OER and providing learning support in terms of navigation assistance and defining learning pathways for the open schooling initiative.

 

Benefits of OER

1) It improves the quality of education, accelerates knowledge flow, enhances capacity building and also increases access to quality learning and teaching resources. (Krelja 2016).

2) OER allows for more personalized learning; better learning experience, improved use of resources which promotes inclusion and equity by increasing the availability of knowledge, making it easy for learners to learn anytime and anywhere. (Krelja 2016) to achieve SDG 4.

3) Exposure to OER enables students to have access to and engage with different educational resources that align with their learning styles (Mcgreal et.al, 2013), Krelja 2016. (Campbell 2017).

4) It allows learners to become active participants in their learning through a collaboration in the open schooling community of learning (McGreal et.al).

5) Improves students digital skills

 

Benefits of open schooling

1) In open schooling students can choose what they want to learn, how and when they want to learn.it is learner-centered(Abrioux 2009)

2) This system is cost-effective as the same resources and infrastructure used in the traditional school can be utilized for the open schooling program.

3) It increases access to education, hence boosting student enrollment(UNESCO, EFA Global monitoring report)

4) It solves the problem of lack of teachers as the same teachers can teach in the convectional school as well as the open school with added incentives.

 

Limitations of OER and open schooling

1) Inadequate ICT infrastructure:

Lack of constant power supply, and ICT equipment such as computers, projectors etc. can make it impossible for teachers to use OER. (Orwenjo & Erastus 2018).

2) Lack of Administrative Support and Awareness of OER:

Many teachers are not aware of open schooling and the existence of OER or even how to access them; this lack of awareness can contribute to lack of administrative support towards implementing these initiatives (Orwenjo & Erastus 2018).

3) Lack of ICT competences:

A large number of teachers have limited ICT skill and support in the use of technology to maximize educational possibilities.            

4) Logistics-: Creation of a hosting site such as a google site or a repository with the attendant problem of cataloging and distributing licensed OER.

5) Lack of motivation on the part of teachers to share resources.

 

Conclusion

With the adoption of the OER initiative, the traditional systems of teaching and learning would be greatly enhanced. Open schooling’s flexibility makes it suitable for a country like Nigeria, where many children are excluded from learning due to poverty and child labour. Here students who have to work to fend for themselves and their families have the opportunity to attend the open school in the evening. The use of OER in conjunction with online tools that will have a dual usage in conventional schools as well as the open schooling program, increasing access to education without compromising quality. (Orwenjo & Erastus 2016).

 

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