OER use in the Global South: A baseline survey of higher education instructors



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African Minds, International Development Research Centre & Research on Open Educational Resources for Development


University of Cape Town


Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South

The research presented here provides baseline data regarding the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) by higher education instructors in the Global South (South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia). It does so while attending to how such activity (or inactivity) is differentiated across continental regions and associated countries. The chapter addresses two questions: what proportion of instructors in the Global South have used OER, and which variables may account for different OER usage rates between respondents? This is done by examining which variables – such as gender, age, technological access and digital proficiency – seem to influence OER use rates, thereby allowing the authors to gauge which are the most important for instructors in their respective contexts. This study is based on a quantitative research survey taken by 295 randomly selected instructors at 28 higher education institutions in nine countries (Brazil, Chile, Colombia; Ghana, Kenya, South Africa; India, Indonesia, Malaysia). The 30-question survey addressed the following themes: personal demographics, infrastructure access, institutional environment, instructor attitudes and open licensing. Survey responses were correlated for analysis with respondents’ answers to the key question of the survey: whether they had ever used OER or not. Findings indicate that 51% of respondents have used OER, a rate slightly differentiated by region: 49% in South America, 46% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 56% in South and Southeast Asia. A number of variables were associated with varying levels of OER use rates – such as instructors’ country of habitation (and its gross domestic product per capita), level of digital proficiency, educational qualification, institutional position and attitude to education – while many others were not, such as instructors’ gender, age or perception of their institutions’ OER-related policies.