|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 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 of the Centre for Educational Technology.
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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