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.

While school cards are becoming increasingly common in all regions of the world, the form they take can vary greatly in terms of who organizes them, what data is used, how they are collected, what information is made available and in what form. Moreover, there has been no real assessment of which data are most effective in encouraging citizen action, and how to publicize them in a fruitful way. In addition, the dialogue on these issues between education sector managers, CSOs, and the media, remains extremely limited. 

In this context, over the last four years IIEP has been conducting a research programme on the use of open school data - and in particular school report cards (SRCs) - to encourage transparency and accountability in schools. More specifically, the Institute has been examining various SRC models and the conditions under which such initiatives have succeeded in involving stakeholders and motivating them to make changes and positively impact the level of transparency and accountability within their education system.

Review of 14 school report card initiatives

An in-depth review of 14 school report card initiatives from around the world was published by IIEP in 2016. This study used a comparative approach to examine the impact of factors such as information dissemination methods, formal or participatory approaches, reward or punishment mechanisms, and the incorporation of anti-corruption elements, and to what extent these can lead to increased accountability and transparency. 

Study tour on My School initiative, Australia

In late 2016 IIEP conducted a study tour to Australia, and invited decision-makers and high-level education officials from seven countries in the Asia Pacific 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

In October 2018, six case studies on open data projects across the Asia Pacific region were published*. These studies focus 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 analyse variables such as the type of data made available, the level of data accessibility and its use by different stakeholder,s and also drew from a survey of some 250 school-level in each case-country, to understand how users of school data currently interact with various school report card initiatives.



Two regional state of the art reports

In addition, IIEP carried out two regional state-of-the-art reports on open school data: one in Africa, which reviewed 21 initiatives in 13 countries of sub-Saharan Africa; and the other on Latin America

Policy forum held in Manila

The research culminated in an International Policy Forum in Manila, organised in collaboration with the Philippines Department of Education, which took place from 24-26 January 2018. The forum gathered researchers and national policy makers and civil society representatives from 15 countries around the world.

Some of the recommendations which came out of this event are summarized below. More broadly, the results of IIEPs work on the topic are available for use by all those wishing to develop school report cards in their own regions. 


Publication 'Open School Data: What planners need to know'

Open School Data: What planners need to know 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.

The book also argues that education authorities have much to learn from the experience of civil society in the area, emphasizing the need to shift from an administrative approach to a more citizen-centred perspective.