CW4WAfghan Awarded Research Grant
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan), a charity established in 1996, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a research grant to study the impact of open educational resources (OER) in Afghanistan. The grant is awarded by the Wawasan Open University, Penang, Malaysia, which is coordinating a series of OER impact studies. These, together with a series of OER adoption studies coordinated by the University of Cape Town, form the Research on OER for Development (ROER4D) programme. ROER4D is funded by Canada’s International Development and Research Centre (IDRC) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
As defined by UNESCO, OER are “any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.” OER can include lesson plans, courses, textbooks, storybooks, images, maps, activities, teacher guides, and a variety of other materials.
CW4WAfghan is among several grantee institutions focusing on education in Asia, Africa or Latin America and experimenting with the use of OER to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning. The ROER4D programme aims to provide evidence-based research to help understand with what impact and under what circumstances the use of OER can best address the demand for accessible, relevant, high-quality and affordable education in the Global South.
CW4WAfghan established Afghanistan’s first ever OER initiative, the Darakht-e Danesh Online Library for Educators in Afghanistan, a digital educational resource collection for teachers that houses nearly 1500 materials, like lesson plans, games, experiments and books, in 14 subject categories ranging from biology to fine arts. The DD Library uses an innovative user-friendly interactive, multilingual custom-designed web platform, and works in Dari, Pashto and English, the three languages taught in Afghanistan’s public school system. The DD Library is an independent source of knowledge, information and pedagogical tools for Afghan teachers, which aims to address the extreme lack of educational materials available to teachers in Afghanistan, who face unprecedented enrolment rates, poor infrastructure, large class size, and limited training, among other challenges.
"The grant will allow CW4WAfghan to measure the impact of the educational resources in the Darakht-e Danesh Library, to understand how exposure to the materials changes teachers' knowledge and pedagogical skill," explained CW4WAfghan’s Programs Director, Dr. Lauryn Oates, who will be Principal Investigator of the study, which begins in March 2015. "Afghanistan faces significant barriers to improving the quality of education and this project gives us the chance to mobilize technology to innovate ways to overcome those barriers," she added.
Christine B. Wilde, Manager of Community Engagement and Fund Development, CW4WAfghan
Further details about ROER4D can be found at: http://roer4d.org/