Wikipedia: Ten Years of Providing Open Educational Resources (Almost) for All

Wikipedia is ten years old. In a decade Wikipedia has become something we take for granted — a pool of free knowledge. Wikipedia is huge. It is a top-10 website in the world. It is in many languages and still growing.

After ten years, Wikipedia is the most important Open Educational Resource (OER) in the world, but unevenly distributed. In a next ten years Wikipedia should become the basic pool of educational resources for many more.

The Internet penetration (% population) is estimated to be close to 30% in the entire world. In Africa it is close to 10% and in Asia 20%.

From the African languages in the Swahili Wikipedia there are over 20 000 articles and in the second largest, the Afrikaans Wikipedia over 16 000 articles. There are many other established projects in African languages, but non of them are really active.

People should take the lack of Wikipedias in African languages seriously. Many educated people in Africa are educated in European languages (especially in English and French). Still most of the educated people are also fluent in some African language. Editing Wikipedia in African language is an easy way to give back something you got in your education.

And you can write Wikipedia articles without “education”, too. In the Wikipedia nobody is asking are you “educated” to write articles. If you feel that you know something just start an article about it. It can be an article about your neighborhood, city or town, about the geography of your country, about your local politician. We all know about many things.

I know that editing Wikipedia is not a simple thing. It is difficult. A beautiful thing with Wikipedia is that in there one can not make mistakes that couldn’t be fixed. There is always the possibility to edit — again, again and again.


Please, talk to your friends who are speakers of African languages or who work in African countries. Writing Wikipedia articles about African topics in African languages is important.

It is important for your children. Wikipedia should be the Open Educational Resource (OER) in Africa, too.

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