State promotes open access to educational materials in Arabic

By Kedar Pavgi

January 28, 2013

The State Department on Monday launched the Open Book Project, an initiative designed to promote and create open-access Arabic language educational resources.

State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs is working with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization to create open access educational resources with a specific focus on science and technology oriented materials, according to a fact sheet released Friday. 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the initiative was launching at a time when “young people’s hunger for knowledge, opportunity and good jobs” has never been greater, especially in the countries of the Arab Spring. She said State was primed to find common ground with foreign governments and students looking for economic advancement.

“We see partnerships like this as one chance to bridge [divides],” Clinton said.

Open educational resources are tools that provide learning materials – such as e-books, audiovisual media and tutorials – for free to anyone with equipment to access them. Most OERs, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseware, are stored on Internet servers and can serve masses through open online courses. 

State said its Open Book Project will:

State also says the program will “create educational opportunity, further scientific learning, and foster economic growth.” In an op-ed published in The Guardian in July 2012, Ambassador David T. Killion, the U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO, and Sir John Daniel, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, said that OERs were critical to creating sustainable global growth in the 21st century. 

By Kedar Pavgi

January 28, 2013

http://www.nextgov.com/technology-news/tech-insider/2013/01/state-promotes-open-access-educational-materials-arabic/60930/