Session Submission Summary

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Using open data to improve transparency and fight against corruption in education

Wed, March 8, 8:00 to 9:30am, Sheraton Atlanta, 1, Georgia 4 (South Tower)

Session Submission Type: Group Panel

Description of Session

Education is a primary sector for the creation and reproduction of corrupt behaviour as a main site of socialisation. Fighting for transparency and accountability in education is of the utmost importance to reduce corruption over time. Diagnostic tools such as public expenditure tracking surveys significantly aid in the creation of social accountability under the principle that open information, or factual information about financing provided to anti-corruption administrators will provide social pressure. Open data initiatives are another major tool used to provide information directly to the community stakeholders to provide a greater level of social pressure and accountability.

In recent years, countries as different as Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines have witnessed for increased activity in access to information initiatives and calls for more transparent and accountable governments. The development of technology centers, along with social movements demanding the right to information, have encouraged an array of activities responding to calls for access to information. But while legislation, accountability tools, and software have been developed for improved transparency purposes, these disparate approaches have produced a glut of endeavors without ever truly assessing their efficacy. While open data are important, they are not always what is needed most for the improvement of government transparency and accountability. In addition, when data are available to the public, they are not necessarily presented in easily accessible formats and people are often unaware of how to access and utilize the data. Moreover, no useful and systematic sharing of best practices has yet been realized. Essential to addressing these issues is an increased dialogue between a trifecta of stakeholders: government education officers and planners, civil society organizations (CSOs) actively involved in the empowerment of citizens through information, and parent representatives.

It is in this context this workshop will explore several methods for implementing open data initiatives in the education sector already put in place across the world in order to determine best practices and some key elements to the successful implementation of open data initiatives across the world. More specifically it will try to address the following questions: How can open data aid in providing social accountability to help fight corruption in education? How can this data be made accessible and understandable to the community? Is accountability ensured through completely open data, or can a third-party watchdog also ensure accountability (more effectively)? Finally, how can the data be used effectively without compromising the security and/or privacy of students.

Panel practitioners will share their experiences in creating an open data platform. They will share best-practices and discuss the major challenges they faced in the design and implementation of such initiatives. They will also examine potential dangers of open data in education including student privacy and information security.

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