Postcard from Bucharest: Open Education Romania 2017 conference
On 15th May, the 2017 edition of the Open Education Romania conference took place in the National Library in Bucharest. The event was organized by Asociatia pentru Tehnologie si Internet – ApTI and the Center for Public Innovation, together with the Open Government Partnership team from the Romanian government. Among attendants were teachers and educators, librarians and open education activists from the Coaliția pentru Resurse Educaționale Deschise – the Romanian OER coalition.
Radu Puchiu, State Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Chancellery and head of the OGP Romania team opened the event, and highlighted recent policy developments in Romania. In 2016, Romania has adopted its third OGP National Action Plan, which includes commitments to build a national OER repository in 2017 and develop a nationwide OER policy by 2018.
In this context, Daniel Bojte from the Ministry of Education spoke about ongoing work on developing open, digital textbooks. The Ministry started the digital textbooks program in 2011: the program sees the digital version as complementary to the printed one. All textbooks produced so far, over 40, are freely available on the Ministry’s website but the copyright remains with the publishers. The Ministry is looking for legal and technical options to create open textbooks. In the same session Jan Gondol from Slovak Alliance for Open Education and Alek Tarkowski from Polish Coalition for Open Education shared experiences from their countries.
The second session of the event was devoted to the issue of ongoing European copyright reform, and its effects on education. Bogdan Manolea from ApTI led a panel discussion joined by a group of legal experts from our region: Maja Bogataj Jančič from Creative Commons Slovenia, Lucie Straková from Creative Commons Slovakia and Valentina Pavel from ApTI. During the session, Valentina presented the “Right Copyright” campaign, which aims to create copyright law that better supports education in Europe. The campaign has been localised in Romanian by members of the coalition.
The conference was an opportunity for a broad range of supporters of OER in Romania to meet, including librarians, teachers and educational activists.
The Romanian Open Educational Resources Coalition may be reached on Facebook @ facebook.com/groups/REDRomania/ , an inviting place for everyone willing to share experiences and disseminate good practices. The Romanian coalition has also another point for dissemination, a blog @ educatiedeschisa.ro.