São Paulo Legislative Assembly Passes 989/2011 OER Bill

On December, 20th 2012, the São Paulo Legislative Assembly (ALESP) approved Bill 989/2011 (OER State Bill), authored by state chamber representative Simão Pedro, establishing a policy whereby educational resources developed or purchased with government funds must be made freely available to the public under an open copyright license. Next, the Governor must sign the bill for it to become law.

This is a result of almost 2 years of dialogue led by the OER Brazil-Project, supported by growing OER community in Brazil, and by folks at ALESP that understand that OER is a better policy for public spending. In June 2011, Simão Pedro in partnership with OER Brazil Project organized a seminar on Digital Teaching Materials, Open Educational Resources and Quality in Education at ALESP, when experiences from Brazil and around the world were discussed with the presence and intervention of educators, journalists, editors, lawyers and internet activists. It was the spark needed to gather more political support. The OER State Bill was introduced just after that.

Simao Pedro saw that OER is a key to the modernization of education and the dynamic of technology entrance into the classroom, and saw the power of the market dynamic where the state is the biggest purchaser. In an interview published in the book Open Educational Resources: collaborative practices and public policy, Simão Pedro says of the impact of OER in society “… the teachers wins, they will have more incentives to improve their classes by adapting content, and will be able to produce and disseminate content to their peers. Students will have more interesting and efficient content. And also the government wins, it will save a great amount of resources. I think all this will reflect in a great advance in the quality of education.” 

The legislator explained that currently “… the model of purchasing courseware leads to a double expense. The government subsidizes the production – paying teachers, consultants and researchers – and then is forced to buy what it has subsided. OER solves this problem because it creates an arrangement whereby content produced and funded with public funds is also open to public use.”

After conducting a seminar on the subject in the Legislative Assembly and created the Bill, Simão Pedro participated in several debates, meetings, programs on TV Assembly, meeting with the State Secretary of Education, Herman Voorwald, beyond his participation in  World Open Educational Resources Congress at UNESCO.

The bill received its first assent in late 2011 the Committee on Constitution and Justice. In 2012, the Bill was then approved by other two Comissions: Education and Culture and Finance, Budget and Planning, respectively in February and May.

After being voted in plenary on December 20th, the Bill now goes to final approval by the executive branch.

The OER Brazil project, and the OER community in Brazil and abroad are closely watching and working to ensure the bill will be passed into law in the beginning of 2013. So, show your support and help us spread the news. Tweet using the tag #reabr.