Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has become the world’s first university to take part in developing the National Policy on Inclusive Open Educational Resources.
Under the leadership of Malaysia’s United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) consultant, Professor Dr Fong Soon Fook, UMS establishes itself as a global leader in the Inclusive Open Education during the launch of the National Inclusive Open Educational Resources Policy (iOER).
The National iOER Policy was developed over a two-year period by a taskforce composed of experts from Universiti Malaysia Sabah, the Department of Higher Education of the Ministry of Higher Education, the Malaysian e-Learning Council for Public Universities (MEIPTA), the Malaysia Centre for e-Learning (MyCeL), several Ministries, NGOs and international partners.
The National iOER launching ceremony, officiated by Minister of Higher Education, Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad was broadcasted live recently through the Higher Education Ministry (MoHE) official Facebook and YouTube accounts.
In her speech, Datuk Seri Noraini stated that the policy is the first to address the issue of accessibility for those with disabilities in education. It was developed during the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference in 2019.
“The UNESCO OER Recommendation 2019 supports the mainstreaming of open educational resources (OERs) to assist all member states in the creation of inclusive knowledge societies with the long-term objective of achieving 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda through 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The fourth SDG, on education, is critical for achieving the other SDGs; it aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote opportunities for lifelong learning for all,” she said.
With over 500,000 people in Malaysia registered as disabled due to visual, auditory, speech, physical, or cognitive impairments, the iOER policy is intended to be implemented in education in order to enable all learners, particularly those with disabilities, to learn according to their own unique learning styles and preferences.
According to her, this will aid in the long-term integration of learners with disabilities into the broader society, particularly through the enhancement of social inclusion and employment opportunities.
At the same time, she extended her gratitude to everyone who contributed to the development of the National iOER policy and reiterated the vision of making inclusive education a reality in Malaysia.
Vice Chancellor of UMS, Professor Datuk ChM. Ts. Dr Taufiq Yap Yun Hin congratulated Datuk Seri Noraini and lauded the launch of the iOER Policy.
“The policy will transform the lives and abilities of everyone in Malaysia, particularly those differently abled individuals by providing them with educational resources critical to their inclusion into society and contribution to the greater good of humanity,” he said.
Also present during the ceremony were Deputy Minister of Higher Education Malaysia, Datuk Dr Ahmad Masrizal Muhammad; UNESCO Assistant Director General for Communication and Information, Dr Tawfik Jelassi; Education Specialist in e-Learning, Commonwealth of Learning, Dr Sanjaya Mishra; UNESCO Programme Specialist for Digital Innovation and Transformation, Communication and Information Sector, Dr Joe Hironaka; Chair in Open Educational Resources, UNESCO International Council for Open and Distance Education, Athabasca University, Professor Rory Mcgreal; Deputy Secretary General Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia, Dr Mohd Zabri Yusoff; Director General of Higher Education, Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia, Professor Datuk Dr Husaini Omar; and Director General of Polytechnic and Community College Education, Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education Malaysia, Ts. Zainab Ahmad.