In a speech today, Human Resource Development Minister Dr. Shashi Tharoor, announced the launch of a new Indian National Repository for Open Educational Resources. From the speech:
I am delighted to be here at the National Conference on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in School Education and at the launch of the National Repository of Open Education Resources (NROER). As Prof. Sinclair knows, I have been a staunch supporter of open education resources as a significant part of the response to the challenges that are faced by the education sector in our country and the launch of the NROER is a significant step in this direction. Reaching the unreached, including the excluded, has long been the priority for us in extending education to all. I am informed that the NROER aims to offer “resources for all school subjects and grades in multiple languages. The resources are available in the form of concept maps, videos, audio clips, talking books, multimedia, learning objects, photographs, diagrams, charts, articles, wikipages and textbooks.” The Ministry of HRD has been actively engaging with various organisations to propagate Education for All. This repository will most certainly help to open the doors of educational opportunity to those very little or no access to education.
This initiative is also a significant step towards inclusive education. Opening access to all requires a debate on the issue of ownership, copyright, licensing and a balancing of reach with legitimate commercial interests. This is particularly important for public institutions and public funded projects. I am glad that the NCERT has taken the initiative of declaring that the NROER will carry the CC-BY-SA license. I have been lobbied by Wikimedia and other advocates of open educational resources for this standard to be adopted, rather than the CC-BY-SA-NC which contains a more restrictive clause. This decision by NCERT is in tune with UNESCO’s Paris Declaration on Open Education Resources and will ensure that all the resources are freely accessible to all. To put it in the language of the Creative Commons—to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. But to ensure the smooth functioning of this repository, one needs to take support of the various ICT tools. Read more.