|Openness: Prof Martin Hall was one of those who signed the Cape Town Open Declaration, which aims to use the internet to make knowledge more freely available|
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Hall, representing UCT, and other prominent members of academia gathered on 8 April to sign the Cape Town Open Education Declaration.
The declaration is a groundbreaking initiative that aims to promote open resources, technology and teaching practices in education. Drafted in January 2008, the declaration springs from a meeting convened by the Shuttleworth Foundation and the Open Society Institute in Cape Town in September 2007, attended by UCT's Eve Gray and Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams.
While informal sharing of resources takes place in South African universities, there is as yet no formal system for making local open educational resources available.
Speaking at the signing, Hall said that the freedoms of the internet must be protected, or else knowledge will become a heavily-priced commodity.
"The commercialisation of intellectual property presents difficult challenges for a university," he said. "Universities thrive on making knowledge freely available and the Cape Town Open Education Declaration establishes important principles for ensuring that this happens."
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