HBMeU becomes first Arab and regionaluniversity to contribute in formulation of Paris Open Education ResourcesDeclaration
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Dr. Mansoor Al Awar outlines opportunitiesand challenges in adopting OER in the Middle East during UNESCO World Congress2012 in Paris
Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammede-University (HBMeU), recently joineddiscussions about the opportunities and challenges in adopting Open EducationalResources (OER) in the Middle East and the Arab world during the recentlyconcluded 2012 UNESCO World Congress for Open Educational Resources in Paris, France.Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University representedthe Middle East at the Congress where Dr. Al Awar underlined the urgent need topromote online education in the Arab world, which will help accelerate theintegration of OER in mainstream education. HBMeUalso contributed to the formulation of the 2012 Paris OER Declaration which callson governments to support the development and use of OERs, following a seriesof regional and global discussions under the umbrella of the InternationalCouncil for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
On the sidelines of the Congress, several region andcountry-specific sessions and panel discussions were held to tackle variousaspects of OER, including a discussion on the “Issues and Challenges forOER”, which saw the participation of Dr. Al Awar alongside ministers fromNetherlands, Belgium, and Nigeria, in addition to the President of the OpenUniversity of China. The main focus of Dr. Al Awar’s discussion revolvedaround the road map for the Arab World on how to move forward in OER. Mrs. MonaAl Ayoubi, Learning & Innovations Strategies, Director, also attended theCongress to discuss in a technical panel how HBMeU is implementing its OERinitiatives.
As the first Arab university to be a part of UNESCO’sefforts to promote OER, HBMeU has played a key role in promoting OERs inthe Arab world, having pioneered various high-profile initiatives such as therecent Roundtable report titled “Creating a Culture of Shared Knowledgein the Arab World: The Role of Open Educational Resources” that wassupported by the world’s most distinguished scholars and practitioners inthe area of e-Learning.
Dr. Al Awar said: “We are pleased to contribute theformulation of the 2012 Paris OER Declaration, reaffirming our leadership indisseminating the culture of open education in the Arab world. It has alwaysbeen our mission to create and spread knowledge by providing access tocost-effective education and taking advantage of the latest advances intechnology and e-Learning. Moreover, we strongly believe that we are taking theright step forward with the implementation of various OER initiatives toencourage the creation of open and free educational materials in the region. Weare confident that OER will play an important role in driving innovation andhelping create positive changes in education in the Arab world. HBMeU has alsopioneered several OER-driven programs and has actively supported globalinitiatives such as the UNESCO World Congress for Open Educational Resources toexplore more opportunities for creating and promoting open educationalresources. The university served as the voice of the Arab world during theCongress, where we presented the key findings of the Roundtable on OER that weorganized in January 2012.”
The UNESCO World Congress for Open Educational Resourcesbrought together ministers of education/human resource development, seniorpolicy makers, expert practitioners, researchers and relevantstakeholders to discuss and share their experiences and to adopt the 2012 ParisOER Declaration. The event, which celebratedthe 10th anniversary of the 2002 UNESCO Forum that created the term“OER”, showcased the world’s best practices in OER policies,initiatives and leading experts.
HBMeU has emerged as a leading advocate of OER initiativesin the region, taking advantage of its expertise and experience as a pioneer ine-Learning across the Arab world. The university recently released a Roundtablereport that provided a foundation of useful knowledge as the region’seducation stakeholders face challenging times and critical decisions regardingthe fate and future of e-Learning and OERs.
HBMeU is the first e-learning institute in the Arab World that wasestablished with the vision to develop a new learning process through theimplementation of learning practices characterised by flexibility, quality anddiversity to strengthen self-leadership among learners and prepare themsocially and academically for a future career through integration in the jobmarket. HBMeU’s philosophy is based on vital methods that have beendeveloped through extensive research and development by specialists from allover the world. These methods include offering high quality programs,supporting the pursuit of lifelong learning, promoting the freedom ofinformation, reinforcing the culture of excellence and innovation and providingeducation for everyone in line with the highest standards of comprehensivenessand credibility. The university, which is accredited by the UAE Ministry ofHigher Education and Scientific Research, seeks to constantly identify knowledgeneeds, support research and development programs and create an outstandingenvironment for e-learning.