Using digital tools to promote transparency and accountability

Digital tools have the potential to overhaul the management of education systems, while also fostering transparency and accountability within the sector. For example, data portals can inform citizens about the amounts of funds allocated to schools, satellite systems can monitor school locations and construction, and artificial intelligence can perform automated audits and monitor public spending in schools. Digital tools can also address pressing issues such as ghost teachers, absenteeism, examination fraud, forged certificates, and fake diplomas.

Digging deeper: how digital tools counter corruption in education

Given the myriad of digital tools available today, IIEP is examining how they can accelerate progress to make education more transparent and accountable. This research also aims to fill a knowledge gap on how such tools combat corruption in education management. Unlike most existing research which is predominately predictive, this research seeks to offer systematic insights into the real impact of digital tools today. This is especially important amid mounting concerns about the digital divide, reliance on for-profit digital industries, and personal data breaches.

“There is a pressing need today to document and assess digital initiatives in the management of the education sector and understand their effects on transparency and accountability.” Muriel Poisson, IIEP-UNESCO team leader for Knowledge Management and Mobilization 

Mapping out digital tools

Considering the lack of analysis on digital tools to improve transparency and accountability, this research will initially map out the range of ICT tools available today in relation to planning and management issues. An in-depth analysis will cover several initiatives, documenting the perspectives and attitudes of administrators, teachers, parents, and students. The research will then assess the impact of ICT tools and the ongoing challenges in their application.

For this research, the focus will be on:

Student and teacher allocation Exams, certification, and diplomas Control and audit mechanisms

Building on extensive IIEP research

IIEP has over 20 years of experience in conducting research and carrying out capacity-building activities on issues related to transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption measures in education. This latest research builds on two recently completed international research projects on open school data and open government

Investigating four research questions

  1. How effective are digital tools to address fraud and corruption in education? Are some digital tools more effective than others and what are the enabling conditions? 
  2. How do institutional cultures and individual attitudes towards new digital tools influence their usefulness and impact? How do they differ according to gender, age, and socio-economic background? 
  3. What practical issues and challenges are associated with the implementation of new digital tools, especially as regards privacy and surveillance? 
  4. What risks are emerging from the growing dependence of public authorities on for-profit industries that propose tailor-made solutions to management issues?

Sharing new knowledge, building strong communities 

As part of this project, IIEP will: 

  • Lead an international survey on the use of ICT tools to renew planning and management techniques, 
  • Carry out a study in Latin America on automatized assignment of teachers and students to schools in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank,
  • Develop a study on the use of ICTs by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to improve transparency and accountability in education and produce an interactive map on the same topic,
  • Launch a comparative study on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to renew planning and management techniques in collaboration with Beijing Normal University, 
  • Conduct a study on the renewal of auditing and control mechanisms using digital tools in four European countries
  • Develop a regional study on open school data in European countries in collaboration with the Council of Europe.

In the media


In the media

Decisive action is needed to restore the credibility of NSFAS

By Linda Meyer and Patrick Fish - University World News


In the media

Corruption in schools undermines children's education

By Esther Ndalafina - Radio Okapi


In the media

Student union concerned over ‘fake’ education agents

By Zachariah Mushawatu - University World News

Find out More

Stay informed About Etico

Sign up to the ETICO bulletin to receive the latest updates

Submit your content

Help us grow our library by sharing your content on corruption in education.