Tracking textbooks for transparency: improving accountability in education in the Philippines
How can accountability deficits be addressed in innovative ways in the face of weak and ineffective formal state institutions? This paper analyses the role of civil society organizations in improving accountability by increasing transparency in service delivery. By focusing on the distribution of textbooks and other educational materials in the Philippines, it examines how this civil society-led initiative caused service providers (government and private contractors) to be more transparent in their transactions with one another. By mobilizing local communities, civil society organizations are able to encourage popular and stakeholder participation in the Philippines education sector. This paper argues that three factors were crucial for the success of this accountability arrangement: good state-civil society relations, political opportunity structures and the unity and density of civil society organizations. By way of conclusion, it sets out how improved transparency can lead not only to improved political accountability outcomes but to better development outcomes as well.