Open school data

Open school data constitutes a powerful tool to promote citizen control over the transfer and use of financial, material and human resources. The publication of such data allows users of the system to better know their rights and to stand up for them.


IIEP recently conducted a research project on the use of open data, and in particular school report cards (SRCs), to encourage transparency and accountability in schools.

Successful open data initiatives engage stakeholders, giving them the motivation and means to make positive changes within their education system and positively impact the level of transparency and accountability. The Institute examined various SRC models, looking at what conditions allow such initiatives to succeed.

The four-year project combined desk reviews, field research, and surveys and it associated with government officials, school actors and civil society. This included:

  • A global desk review of 14 school report card initiatives, and two states of the art regional papers on School report cards in Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America
  • A study tour to Australia, where decision-makers and high-level education officials from seven countries in the Asia Pacific were invited to examine what the My School open data initiative teaches us about improving transparency and accountability through public access to school data
  • Six case studies on Asia and the Pacific, focused on country-specific uses of primary and secondary school report cards (both government-led and citizen-led) to create a more transparent and accountable education system. They analyze variables such as the type of data made available, the level of data accessibility and its use by different stakeholders, also drawing from a survey of some 250 school-level actors in each case-country.

Access the case studies here:

Australia case study

Bangladesh case study

India case study

Indonesia case study

Pakistan case study

Philippines case study

Policy forum held in Manila

An International Policy Forum in Manila, organized in collaboration with the Department of Education of the Philippines, took place from 24-26 January 2018. The forum gathered researchers and national policymakers and civil society representatives from 15 countries around the world.

Foto de grupo del Foro Internacional sobre Políticas Educativas del IIEP, en Manila, Filipinas, 2018.

Group photo from the 2018 IIEP Policy Forum in Manila, Philippines.

Download the book here

The main findings and conclusions of the IIEPs research project can be found in the book ‘Open School Data: What planners need to know’.
The publication addresses five key questions: from how to choose the content and format of data, to how to link them with accountability, while also understanding inherent risks. Covering Australia to Zambia, these questions are brought to life with real-world examples and lessons from 50 countries and several hundred interviews with school-level actors. It argues that decision-makers and educational planners need to change from an administrative to a citizen perspective, learning from civil society experience in the area.
Overall, this book demonstrates that by stimulating expectations and hopes, open school data may well contribute to substantial changes in power dynamics within the education sector.

The results of the research have also been used to produce guidelines for educational planners and decision-makers: Developing open school data policies: basic principles. Released in mid-2021, this document formulates eight key principles: from considering OSD as a public good building on existing information systems to giving priority to data that can drive positive change, and addressing ethical risks upfront.

For any queries, please contact Muriel Poisson

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