Awareness-Raising About Open Education Resources (SK0090)
The involvement of teachers, other educational staff and specialists at all levels of education as well as pu-pils and students, including raising their awareness in this area, are a necessary condition for the successful implementation of the use of educational resources under a public license. The ambition is to achieve a degree of awareness of all concerned where the publication and use of open educational resources will become a matter of course. The previous OGP National Action Plan 2015 therefore included a commitment to propose and implement measures to raise awareness of teachers, other educational staff and specialists in primary and secondary education about open educational resources. The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport identified the program of continuing education as the most appropriate pathway, and entrusted the Methodological Pedagogical Center with its implementation. Awareness can be raised in other ways as well - by creating concise manuals and presentations, conducting seminars, workshops, by creating a website about the importance of open educational resources, about existing open educational resources, about the repository of open educational resources, about public licenses, copyright, and so on.
Commitment No. 33: Raise awareness of open educational resources among teachers, other educational staff, professional staff in primary and secondary education, as well as pupils and students.
Responsible: Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport
Deadline: ongoing, evaluation on December 31
The Government Manifesto chapter discussing providing quality education announces streamlining of the process of supplying textbooks and other teaching resources, including those with public licenses where schools will be gradually be allowed to choose from several types of textbooks.
IRM Midterm Status Summary
THEME - Promotion, publication and review
Comm 33, 34, 42
Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan[Note : The Office of the Plenipotentiary, “Open Government Partnership National Action Plan of the Slovak Republic 2017 – 2019”, http://bit.ly/2QYIlHV ]:
Commitment 33: “Raise awareness of open educational resources among teachers, other educational staff, professional staff in primary and secondary education, as well as pupils and students.”
Commitment 34: “Publish the outcomes of the approval process of educational resources on the website of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.”
Commitment 42: “Actively participate in discussion forums, programs and multilateral efforts in Europe and beyond to support the creation, improvement, mutual exchange and reuse of open educational resources; ensure international coordination of the activities in the area.”
Start Date: Not specified
End Date: 31 December 2018 and ongoing
Context and Objectives
The commitments to raise awareness about open educational resources were already present in the previous action plan[Note : The Office of the Plenipotentiary, “Open Government Partnership National Action Plan of the Slovak Republic 2015”, http://bit.ly/2RevqCc]. The previous IRM report concluded that the progress of these commitments had been limited. As mentioned for the previous clusters of open education commitments, there is currently no engagement of teachers and a very limited engagement of civil society. At the same time, the awareness about open educational resources is low and is a consequence of other more structural problems. The interviewees argued that the ministry is not doing enough to inform schools and teachers about its activities more broadly, not only in the area of open education.
The director of a grammar school stated that in his position he did not receive any communication from the ministry: “I did not receive any strategy or official document that would deal with the topic of open education” [Note : Interview with Roman Baranovič (Narnia Grammar School), 26 October 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ]. He also mentioned that he did not notice that a ministry representative would publicly talk about this topic. He is not aware of any ministerial activity in this area. Other interviewees also echoed the concerns that little has been done to engage critical national stakeholders in open education commitments[Note : Interview with Zuzana Adamová (Creative Commons Slovensko and University of Trnava), 6 November 2018. Interview with Ján Gondoľ (worked for Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatization of the Slovak Republic as a consultant on OGP commitments during the action plan implementation. He is also an open education expert), 5 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ]. In addition, very few references to open education can be found on the website of the ministry, and those few do not mention any activities that have been executed to engage teachers and CSO representatives[Note : The Ministry of Education, “Začleňovanie otvorených zdrojov vzdelávania do bežného vzdelávacieho procesu” (Inclusion of open education resources into the educational process), http://bit.ly/2QMnwD2 (In Slovak).
The Ministry of Education, “Na pôde rezortu sa rokovalo o otvorenom vzdelávaní” (There was a meeting on open education at the Ministry) http://bit.ly/2B66O7X (In Slovak).].
Therefore, commitment 33 to promote open educational resources to relevant stakeholders is an important one, and if implemented well could potentially have a minor impact. The commitment is specific enough to be verified once the implementation period is completed. On the other hand, the ministry has carried out some activities for the international audience. A high-level ministry representative attended international meetings and negotiations on open educational resources[Note : The Ministry of Education, “Štátna tajomníčka Oľga Nachtmannová rokovala v Ľubľane o otvorených vzdelávacích zdrojoch” (The state secretary Oľga Nachtmannová attended a meeting on open educational resources in Ljubljana), http://bit.ly/2L7VI74 (in Slovak). ]. Nonetheless, in the view of above, commitment 42 to cooperate internationally in the topic of open education is not relevant for OGP values, and its impact for local teachers and students is questionable. Commitment 34 to publish the outcomes of the approval process of educational resources has relevance for access to information and has a minor potential impact, as CSO representatives complained during the action plan development about a lack of transparency in this process[Note : The Office of the Plenipotentiary, “Správa z regionálnych workshopov k tvorbe Akčného plánu Iniciatívy pre otvorené vládnutie na roky 2016 – 2019” (Report from regional workshops on the development of the OGP Action plan 2016-2019), http://bit.ly/2zslNsy (report in Slovak).].
In this stage, given the views of interviewed stakeholders, it will be crucial for the Ministry of Education to focus on teachers as key local stakeholders, carry out activities to increase their awareness of open educational resources, and create opportunities for them to exchange knowledge and experiences. Similarly, the ministry should pro-actively search and reach out to the relevant CSOs which create open educational resources. As one interviewee rightly pointed out “many organizations and enthusiasts create open educational resources without being aware of that because they do not know the terminology[Note : Interview with Ján Gondoľ (worked for Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatization of the Slovak Republic as a consultant on OGP commitments during the action plan implementation. He is also an open education expert), 5 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ]. The outreach is also very much linked to the development of the repository for educational resources, which was introduced in the previous sections, and critical for its success.
In general, the ministry demonstrates a lack of continuity in awareness-raising activities. As one of the interviewed experts stated a tick-box approach is prevalent and once the projects are officially completed and resources are used, their sustainability is jeopardized. Moreover, frequent changes in staff on different organizational levels also do not help to maintain continuity. Following are two examples that illustrate the above statements. Although the project E-aktovka (which makes available digital textbooks for teachers and pupils) is still alive, its social networking site hasn’t been updated since 2014[Note : The Ministry of Education, “Facebook account of E-aktovka platform”, https://www.facebook.com/eaktovka/ (in Slovak). ]. Similarly, the platform’s official website has not been updated. There still is information that the content is being managed by the Institute of information and prognosis of education, which no longer exists. In 2014 it has become a part of the Center of Scientific and Technical information[Note : The Center of Scientific and Technical information, “Informácie o školstve” (Information on education), http://bit.ly/2CgX3FM (in Slovak). ]. Similarly, while Planéta vedomostí (Planet of Knowledge), an educational resources platform, also still operates, its social networking site hasn’t been updated since 2016[Note : The Ministry of Education, “Facebook account of Planéta vedomostí platform”, https://www.facebook.com/Planetavedomosti/ (in Slovak). ]. Also, the platform’s website has a very outdated section on the news. The latest contribution is from August 2017[Note : The Ministry of Education, “The official website of the Planéta vedomostí platform”, http://planetavedomosti.iedu.sk/ (in Slovak)]. These cases, which are not exceptional, would not happen if outreach activities for teachers were taken seriously. Despite the changes and high turnover in staff, the ministry should ensure that the projects are not ‘forgotten’ and build their brands systematically.