Open government in education


Enabling citizens to have access to information about schools, participating in decisions related to education, and becoming involved in the control of administration – these are all examples of how open government is evolving across the world. Ultimately, what is its impact in the education sector? How can open government enable countries to plan education in a more reactive, efficient, and innovative way? Here is a close-up of IIEP-UNESCO’s research programme on open government in education.

Initiated in 2018, this research programme analyses the emerging trend of open government and evaluates its capacity to improve the transparency and accountability of public authorities in the education sector.

In the context of this project, IIEP documents initiatives taken at the international level and identifies good practices. Particular attention is paid to the role of local structures and to the use of information technology to encourage the engagement of citizens – parents, school communities, and pupils – in processes of decision-making and control of education systems.


Why focus on open government in education?

The expression “open government” is often used to refer to different mechanisms of citizen participation. The concept emerged about ten years ago and has developed around the world as a collaborative process of governance. However, until now, there has been no overview of the implementation methods of open government in the education sector, nor of its impact on educational systems. IIEP aims to fill that knowledge gap.

By redefining the frontiers between citizens and public authorities, we believe that open government is likely to respond better to the needs of the educational sector, strengthen trust among actors, and beyond that, reduce the risks of corruption. The main objective is to provide research-informed recommendations to decision makers and planners in the education sector in order to conceive and implement efficient policies for open government in the education sector.

Muriel Poisson – Researcher at IIEP-UNESCO

This programme is the continuation of research conducted by IIEP for two decades on ethics and corruption in education. It is based on knowledge acquired in the context of an earlier research project on open school data.

☍ Discover ETICO, our online resource platform on ethics and corruption in education 

Four questions on open government in education

This research programme aims to answer the following questions:

  1. How should we define the concept of open government in the education sector?
  2. What are the perceptions of different forms of open government in education by the main actors involved?
  3. What criteria should be taken into account to optimise the implementation of open government initiatives in the education sector?
  4. What is the impact of these initiatives, in particular on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4?



Our methodology and research areas

This project is based both on a qualitative approach – through semi-structured interviews, group discussions and field observations – and a quantitative approach, through large-scale research.

The research includes:
1. A literature review on the theme of open government in education that aims to define the concept and to document and evaluate the first innovative initiatives in this field. 

2. A worldwide research project carried out in about forty countries to study existing initiatives.

3. Seven case studies that aim to analyse in depth a particular aspect of open government, such as open policy, open budget, open public contracts, social audits or crowdsourcing. The study focuses on the following countries:

4. Two thematic studies on the role of parents and school management committees in setting up an open government in India and Africa (in French only).

5. Five thematic briefs:

How will our research help IIEP’s audiences and partners

This research project will feed into, enrich, and update IIEP’s training programmes and content related to questions of ethics and corruption in education. This is the case, for example, for the specialised course Transparency, Accountability and Anti-corruption Measures in Education, regularly offered by the Institute.

Technical support to states
The purpose of the research is to formulate specific recommendations aimed at political decision-makers and education planners in order to conceive and implement open government policies in education. IIEP supports UNESCO Member States in setting up strategies and tools to improve governance and transparency in their education systems and strengthen their capacity to fight corruption.

Find out more

This research project specifically addresses IIEP’s 4th priority for the period 2018-2021.

☍ Find out more about IIEP’s 2018-2021 strategy