2. Openness and learning

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation“. (cited from UNESCO)

There are many advantages of Open education resources in third world countries. Most students cannot afford the textbooks prescribed by facilitators and open resources provide an alternative means of acquiring texts. This benefit both student and facilitator. It avoids facilitators using dated information during presentations. Other benefits include the quality of materials, flexibility of access, enhanced opportunities of self-learning anywhere and skills development in various areas. This is so relevant in the context of South Africa in which too many students are not educated due to escalating costs of face to face education and expensive textbooks.

Within the bounds of Creative Commons licensing there are 5 key points to consider when using OERs as depicted in the image that follows:


Image by BCOER Librarians CC 4.0  Taken From BCcampus

It is very encouraging to find in the literature that there are many initiatives in the African continent in the higher education sector e.g. UNISA, South African Institute for Distance Education, Molteno’s Vula Bula Project etc. These organisations are committed to the process of transformation of education and training. They make it possible for more students to have meaningful access to knowledge, skills and learning through open and distance learning.

A significant problem in my context impacting on the access to OERs is the lack of having computers and the cost of data is much higher than most other countries, which remains a challenge. Nevertheless open education resources would definitely reduce the cost of educational materials and therefore make education more accessible to all.


Open Educational Resources. https://rmit.libguides.com/c.php?g=405195&p=2821114

OER Africa. https://www.oerafrica.org/oer-initiatives-africa


Understanding the Impact of OER: Achievements and Challenges https://www.oerafrica.org/system/files/13390/understandingtheimpactofoer2019-=

Published by Kantha Chetty

Dr. Kantha(Magavani) Chetty is the Dean of Faculty of Humanities for the Educor group. She has extensive experience in the higher education sector. She received her B.Comm from UNISA, M.Ed from Jackson State University, USA and doctorate from UKZN. Her 30 years in in higher education has provided her with an extended understanding of the tertiary landscape. Through her academic career she was exposed to several national and international scholars in the field of education and policy development and implementation. She was the recipient of two prestigious scholarships, the Tertiary Education Leadership Programme (USAID) and the Spencer Fellowship Award. Kantha is passionate about and interested in areas of social justice. As such her areas of interest in education focus is on student support and student success at tertiary institutions. When Kantha is not involved with academic matters her time is spent on serving society. She is the past President of East Coast Lions Club, a non-profit organization, affiliated to Lions International. The club consists of a group of people that work together and take an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community.

2 thoughts on “2. Openness and learning

  1. Hi Kantha,
    thanks for your thought about openess and learning. You are offering an issue I never thought about – access to knowledge in third world countries. In Germany, for students it is the normal situation to have different ways to get the knowledge they need. And everybody has computers, internet etc. This can be a challenge in third world countries and should be a task for the international community to support.
    Enjoy the x-mas time 🙂


    1. I so agree Dirk. South Africa tends to have the greatest policies in the world but implementation is problematic. The problem is that it does not make sense to borrow ideas blindly without considering the context in which you apply them. WE tend to take too much for granted.

      Liked by 1 person

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