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Changes to the Act on the School Education System and school textbooks – Our Recommendations
8 September 2014

The Coalition for Open Education would like to comment on the planned changes to the Act on the School Education System, presented by the Ministry of Education for public consultations on February 19, 2014. The Coalition fully supports the efforts of the Ministry of Education aimed at improving the availability of educational materials and reducing the cost of textbooks   WIĘCEJ  

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Letter to Members of Parliament regarding Open Education
8 September 2014

The new amendment to the Act on the School Education System is aimed at ensuring common access to educational resources, particularly school textbooks. This constitutes an important step towards carrying out the constitutional principle of education for all. At present, school textbooks are expensive and additionally publishers often force parents to make yearly purchases by joining textbooks and exercise books in one publication.

New regulations enable the creation of educational resources which can be freely accessible both in digital and printed form; they allow for the modernisation of the school textbook system which had been initiated by the “Digital School” program. The success of this solution, however, depends on proper openness, that is: accessibility of all the relevant materials for free and the application of an open license. This ensures that the public has the right to freely reuse the educational content in accordance with the Open Educational Resources standard.

The Coalition for Open Education, which groups 27 public institutions and non-profit organisations promoting open educational resources, strongly supports the initiative of the Ministry of Education. At the same time we would like to point out additional solutions which should be, in our opinion, included in the projected amendment – solutions guaranteeing the stability and quality of the open education system:

  1. A regulation stating that all educational resources generated with public funds should be free from restrictions concerning copying, distributing and processing (this rule should also be applied to printed reusable textbooks). Protecting free access to content as well as the citizens’ rights to use that content is vital for the standard of open education as promoted by UNESCO, the European Union, and implemented by countries such as the Netherlands, the United States, Brazil or Slovenia.
  2. Regulations enabling the Ministry of Education to run grant competitions for the creation of open textbooks and other educational resources to be released as open publications with appropriate open licenses. A public competition will ensure a diversity of publicly funded educational resources.
  3. An obligation to make publicly funded educational resources available with open licenses. Current regulations guarantee educators the freedom to use various types of content for educational purposes at school – they do not, however, permit to teach with the help of the Internet. Open licenses eliminate those restrictions and allow to fully use the potential of the Web.

Download the full text pdf or full text odt (in Polish).


Our Recommendations for the review of EU copyright rules
8 September 2014

The Coalition for Open Education participated in the European Commission’s public consultations for the review of current EU copyright regulations. The public consultations have concluded on the 5th of March 2014. In our recommendations we have supported far-reaching changes: shortening the copyright protection period from 70 to – initially – 50 years (in accordance with the Berne Convention) and widening and clarifying the rules of fair use, both for personal and educational purposes. The ultimate aim is reaching a stage, at which every non-commercial, educational use and distribution of a creative work is permitted.

The public consultations appear to have been a breakthrough, with approximately 11,000 people and organisations participating (typical EU regulation consultations gather several hundred participants). According to the Modern Poland Foundation’s data, the Polish had been visited by over 6800 users, 291 of which have completed the consultation questionnaire. 543 of those have gone forward to the website in order to fill in the full 80-question survey. The Coalition for Open Education is looking forward to a summary of the consultation results.

Click for full text version.

Wiki loves e-textbooks
8 September 2014  

The Coalition for Open Education is a partner of the annual “Wiki loves e-textbooks” contest organised by Wikimedia Polska and the Centre for Education Development (a subsidiary of Polish Ministry of Education). Two contests have been organised and completed to date.

The Centre for Education Development coordinates a governmental project “epodręczniki” (e-textbooks) for writing officially approved textbooks for primary and secondary schools in Poland. The textbooks are about to be released under CC-BY license and available for free on the special website in order to replace existing,very expensive paper textbooks printed by commercial publishers. The textbooks are written by teams of professional experts from several Polish universities. However, there are not enough high quality multimedia (photos, vector illustrations, animations, sound recordings, short films) for them, which can be released under free licenses.

The idea of “Wiki loves e-textbooks” contest is to encourage Polish Wikipedians to adopt existing multimedia or create original ones for the needs of the textbooks. Teams of experts are creating tables with needed media, which are published in Wikipedia; then the contest participants can upload them to Wikimedia Commons. The experts then select the most useful files and score the uploaders. While the uploader with the highest score wins the contest, all the uploaded multimedia stay on Commons after the contest. The Wikimedia projects will thus be enriched with files thematically connected with needs of schoolchildren, as well as the “epodreczniki” project and general educational audience in Poland. The contest is financially supported by “Human Capital” program maintained by European Social Fund and Polish government.

[Find the original project description here; project website here].

Otwarty dostęp w programie Horyzont 2020 – akcja informacyjna

Na portalu Uwolnij Naukę rozpoczęliśmy akcję informacyjną na temat wymogu otwartego publikowania wprowadzonego do europejskiego programu finansowania badań Horizon 2020. Wymóg dotyczy upowszechniania wyników badań w Internecie (research publications) oraz pilotaż związany z upowszechnianiem surowych danych badawczych.   WIĘCEJ