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Opinion: No conception of open education in Namibia

2021-11-22  Staff Reporter

Opinion: No conception of open education in Namibia
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Lasarus Nghifindwako

Open education (OE) is becoming a phenomenon and a driving force in ensuring equity, inclusivity and quality through open educational practices supported by the freedom to use, combine, modify and redistribute educational resources.

It includes open technologies and formats that prioritise free software and the defence of digital rights. Although much of the educational content that benefits the majority has now opened up, Namibia still sees no priority in opening up education. The Cape Town Open Education Declaration of 2007, which was translated as the nucleus of a new pedagogy in which educators and learners jointly create, shape and develop knowledge while deepening their skills and understanding. On this, Namibia still lacks the energy to consider open educational strategies as one of the solutions to expensive textbooks and huge educational spending.

Taking into account the introduction of open education in Namibia will not only improve the quality of education, but also further improve access, affordability and flexibility. The Open Educational Resources (OER) have created fertile ground for this. These resources include openly licensed course materials, lesson plans, textbooks, games, software, and other materials that aid teaching and learning. They help make education more accessible, especially where money is scarce for learning materials. They also promote the participatory culture of learning, creating, sharing and working together that rapidly changing knowledge societies need. Though, Namibia ratified to Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal 4 of “Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning possibilities for all” it serves no purpose if education is still closed to some margin of society. 

Since 2007, the technological illiteracy of some educators has not only become an obstacle for educators to discover the growing pool of open educational resources, but it has also become a scare tactic for educators if they want to take on challenges to shape educational freedom from open educational resources. Many policymakers and public educational institutions in Namibia navigate education without realising the major benefits and investments of open education.

In addition, many international discussions on open education, notably the Paris Declaration, 2012, and the UNESCO Recommendation, 2019, have prioritized embedding the ethos of open education in broader education policies in order to access quality education, education professionals and policymakers Democratising in Namibia does not see any need of this. Many countries have launched initiatives called the Open Educational Resources Registry to advocate for open education and seek support in improving practice through policy, raise awareness among policymakers at the institutional and educational level, and create an ecosystem for researchers who are committed to open education-interested in policy.

It is high time the Namibian government, school authorities, colleges and universities made open education a high priority. Ideally, tax-funded educational institutions should be open educational resources. Accreditation bodies such as the Namibia Qualification Authority should give preference to open educational resources. Educational resource repositories should have open educational resource repositories in their collections.


2021-11-22  Staff Reporter

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