Using open school data to improve transparency and accountability in the Philippines

This case study examines two recent government-led initiatives, the School Report Card (SRC) and Transparency Board (TB) schemes, and a citizen-led initiative called CheckMySchool (CMS).

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Cover page Philippines

SRC and TB, as government-led initiatives, have predefined, standard sets of information while CMS has none. This is primarily because SRC is governed by the Department of Education (DepEd) and has a manual process of implementation. CMS information, on the other hand, is fluid as it primarily focuses on issues raised by stakeholders. Both SRC and CMS offer a platform for an interactive discussion of collected information, while TB does not.

SRC information comprehensively covers the management, financial, and pedagogical domains of accountability while TB is limited to financial accountability. CMS is flexible as it is issue-based and demand-driven, but mostly it is engaged in the management domain.

The DepEd policy-designed SRC (and to a certain extent, TB) is an information and communication tool, so it does not proactively pursue public accountability, though it provides a venue for citizen query.

Finally, while sanctions for non-compliance with SRC and TB requirements may be imposed using anti-corruption laws, in practice they are not enforced. Conversely, public participation is inherent in CMS as a social accountability initiative, and it identifies and pursues redress of issues highlighted, especially in the case of government authorities’ responses and actions to improve services.

School Report Cards in the Philippines have undeniably contributed to improving transparency and accountability in managing the education system.

The case study draws on desk reviews of related materials, interviews with 53 local and national stakeholders, and a survey of 278 parents, teachers, and community leaders from school located in Guimaras. It highlights that the emergence of current forms of these initiatives is a sign of the maturing culture of openness in the Philippines education system, with SRC and TB schemes being the preferred model for information access, and CheckMySchool for accountability.

Selected recommendations

1. Study institutional adoption of CMS
2. Issue instruction on the documentation and reporting of SRC assembly meetings
3. Set calibration trajectory for SRC implementation
4. Formally recognize students as SRC users

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About the author

Redempto S. Parafina is the Executive Director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). As an international development practitioner, he has a recognized track record in civil society networking, capacity building, and innovation in citizen participation in governance. He has been consulted on the technical application of social accountability in various fields and sectors, including education, health, public procurement, ICT, and youth.

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