Online Educational Resources in Africa

Today, Aman­da Coolidge (British Colum­bia Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy) joins us and talks about what’s hap­pen­ing with Open Edu­ca­tion­al Resources (OER) in Africa. Down the line, she’ll be blog­ging about OER in oth­er parts of the world as well. Take it away Aman­da.

Over 500,000 Niger­ian teach­ers need teacher train­ing and you can bet this is going to be a chal­lenge. Africa is work­ing toward the UN Mil­len­ni­um goal of free edu­ca­tion for all by 2010. Still, teach­ers and stu­dents across Africa need resources in and out­side of the class­room and, like any­where else in the world, they need resources devel­oped in the con­text of their own envi­ron­ment and cul­ture.

The good news is that one of the world’s most com­pre­hen­sive open edu­ca­tion­al resource repos­i­to­ries in teacher edu­ca­tion is called “TESSA: Teacher Edu­ca­tion in Sub Saha­ran Africa”. TESSA has pro­duced a large bank of mate­ri­als direct­ly aimed at enhanc­ing and improv­ing access to, and the qual­i­ty of, local school-based edu­ca­tion and train­ing for teach­ers. These mate­ri­als (includ­ing audio and oth­er media) are mod­u­lar in for­mat. They focus on class­room prac­tice in the areas of lit­er­a­cy, numer­a­cy, sci­ence, social stud­ies and the arts, and life skills. All the mate­ri­als are avail­able through this web­site in a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent for­mats and in 5 dif­fer­ent lan­guages.

Since TESSA was launched in June 2008, the response from the Open Resource com­mu­ni­ty glob­al­ly has been grat­i­fy­ing­ly pos­i­tive.

“The TESSA mate­ri­als are eas­i­ly locat­ed in the envi­ron­ment around us with­out hav­ing to trav­el long dis­tances at high cost”
Teacher, Tan­za­nia

“per­haps the most suc­cess­ful of all the OER projects we have heard about”
Sir John Daniel, Pres­i­dent and Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer, Com­mon­wealth of Learn­ing

Aman­da Coolidge is cur­rent­ly Edu­ca­tion­al Tech­nol­o­gist at the British Colum­bia Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy (BCIT) in Van­cou­ver, BC. She was pre­vi­ous­ly with the Open Uni­ver­si­ty UK and BBC based in Kenya.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.