Open Educational Resources as a solution to problems with classical textbooks

Disadvantages, revisions, commissions, reprinting… These are only few of the most commonly used terms when talked about the situation with textbooks in North Macedonia. However, this situation is neither new nor surprising for those interested in education and education policies in our country. In the recent period, the public has witnessed a number of criticisms of textbooks, such as the sociology textbook used in the second year of high school. Truth be told, MES announced that this textbook will be withdrawn, revised and republished.

Although this example shows a proper reaction of a competent institution, such reactions are rare and intertwined with various bureaucratic procedures. In the case of the sociology textbook, the chain of reactions by the public on social media was the most significant factor that prompted the Ministry to react quickly, despite the fact that this textbook had been in use for many years.

A still-relevant topic in the public is the lack of printed textbooks in certain schools. In addition to the occasional disadvantages when it comes to accessibility, smaller communities in North Macedonia for the first time this school year will receive textbooks in the language of their communities, such as a textbook for Serbian language for sixth and seventh grade, Turkish language for ninth grade, and a textbook on Vlach language and culture for seventh and eighth grade, etc.

But what can a teacher do when the textbook is not available in the language they teach, is being reviewed, or simply – there are not enough printed copies for all of the students?

One of the solutions is using Open Educational Resources (OER).

Open educational resources are any materials used in the teaching process that are open, free, and available for use. The Open Educational Resources (OER) concept covers all educational resources, including curricula, course materials, textbooks, online videos, multimedia programs, podcasts, and any other material designed for use in teaching and learning, which are free and available for use by teachers and students, without the need to pay royalties or license fees.

Open educational resources are no substitute for classical textbooks (yet), but when textbooks are not available, especially when it comes to the availability of educational materials in the languages of minority communities, OER can be of great benefit to the educational process.

The Metamorphosis Foundation is actively working in the field of Open Educational Resources (OER) and is committed to disseminating knowledge through innovative use of information technology. Within the Open Educational Resources project, Metamorphosis Foundation offers regular trainings and workshops for teachers across the country on the benefits of OER, their use, development, and sharing. You can read more about these activities at  www.oer.mk.

In addition to these activities, the Foundation is open to collaborating with any representatives of the academic community, individuals, and organizations that strive for quality education for all students, regardless of their place of residence, the language of instruction, or accessibility of traditional teaching aids i.e. printed textbooks.