Open school data

IIEP’s research into corruption has highlighted the importance of public access to information to improve transparency and accountability in education.

In this context, open school data constitute a powerful tool to promote citizen control over the transfer and use of financial, material and human resources. Their publication allows the users of the system to better know their rights and to stand up for them.

School cards are becoming increasingly common in all regions of the world, however the form they take can vary greatly in terms of who organizes them, what data is used, how it is collected, what information is made available and in what form.

In this context, over the last four years IIEP has been conducting a research programme on the use of open data, and in particular school report cards (SRCs), to encourage transparency and accountability in schools. IIEP has been examining various models and the conditions in which SRCs have succeeded in involving stakeholders and motivating them to make changes, and positively impact the level of transparency and accountability in education systems.

An in-depth review of 14 school report card initiatives from around the world was published by IIEP in 2016. This study used a comparative approach to examine the impact of factors such as information dissemination methods, formal or participatory approaches, reward or punishment mechanisms, and the incorporation of anti-corruption elements can lead to increased accountability and transparency. In late 2016 IIEP conducted a study tour to Australia to examine what the My School open data initiative teaches us about improving transparency and accountability through public access to school data.

In October 2018, six case studies on open data projects conducted across the Asia Pacific region were published – each of which focuses on country-specific uses of primary and secondary school report cards and on the lessons learned from these endeavors from a transparency and integrity perspective. They look at who publishes school data, what type of data is published, and the level of accessibility and use by various stakeholders. They also draw from a survey of some 250 school-level actors led in each participating countries to understand how users of school data currently interact with various school report card initiatives. They conclude with a number of recommendations for more effective school report card design and implementation. In addition, two state of the arts have been conducted on Africa and Latin America.

The research culminated in a Policy Forum which was held in the Philippines in January 2018.

The results of IIEPs work on open education data are available for use by all those wishing to develop school report cards in their own regions.