International Organisations (IOs): International OER agenda and Governmental OER policies.

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference contribution (without a publication)Academic


IOs have been playing a prominent role in the OER movement in advocating for and supporting the development of governmental OER policies and setting international OER policy agendas. Starting in 2011, IOs initiated activities that led to OER policy proposals and policy declarations calling on governments to support the development and mainstreaming of OER by adopting OER policies. Within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Education Policy Committee, discussions took place about adopting a policy instrument on OER in the form of a declaration or a recommendation. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), carried out research activities and regional consultations that led to the adoption of the Paris OER Declaration in 2012 (UNESCO, 2012). Finally, the European Commission (EC) set the European agenda for OER through its 2013 Communication on Opening Up Education: Innovative teaching and learning for all through new Technologies and Open Educational Resources (European Commission, 2013). All these developments within the respective IOs, collectively, served as a significant impetus and helped to set an international agenda for mainstreaming OER within education systems worldwide vis-à-vis the adoption of governmental OER policies.

We present findings from interviews with Intergovernmental Organisation (IGOs) as part of a PhD research study exploring how IOs have influenced the development of governmental OER policies. The following research question guides this study: How did selected IOs influence the development of governmental OER policies in selected countries from 2002 to 2019? We focus on four IGOs: UNESCO, COL, OECD and EC. This research is positioned within the literature that examines the effects of globalisation on educational public policy; a phenomenon also described as an emergent global education policy field or community (Lingard et al., 2005; Rizvi and Lingard; 2010, Jakobi, 2009).

We provide an overview of the OER policy instruments used by the four IGOs. Using a typology of policy instruments developed by Jakobi (2009), we classify the identified OER policy instruments into five distinct categories and provide relevant examples under each category. These include “discursive dissemination, standard setting, financial means, coordinative functions, and technical assistance” (p.4). OER policy instruments are defined for this PhD research as multiple mechanisms of influence applied by IOs that can directly or indirectly influence governmental OER policy processes such as agenda setting, policy formulation and implementation. The findings reveal that the selected IOs used all of the categories of OER policy instruments to influence the development of governmental OER policies, even though each organization could not apply all of them. Following the overview of the identified OER policy instruments, we focus on highlighting similarities and differences between these IOs’ approaches and report on the perceived or observed successes and challenges with the efforts of these IGOs to influence the development of governmental OER policies.

European Commission (2013). Communication on Opening up Education: Innovative teaching and learning for all through new Technologies and Open Educational Resources

Jakobi, A. P. (2009). International organisations and world society: studying global policy development in public policy (TranState working papers, No. 81). http://

Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalising Education Policy. Routledge.

Lingard, B., Rawolle, S., & Taylor, S. (2005). Globalising policy sociology in education: working with Bourdieu. Journal of Education Policy 20 (6), 759-77.

UNESCO. (2012). Paris OER Declaration. Retrieved from
Period5 Apr 2023
Event titleOpen Education Conference OER23: Advancing open education practices
Event typeConference
LocationInverness, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • International Organisations
  • OER
  • Influence
  • Agenda
  • Governmental Policies