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In Event: A global research on the use of open school data, for more sustainable ways to administer educational services, to manage schools and involve community stakeholders
This paper seeks to present an in-depth assessment of the Punjab Monitoring and Implementation Unit (PMIU) in Pakistan, in assessing the efficacy of open data initiatives in promoting accountability and transparency in Punjab.
The PMIU is an open data initiative that publishes online, the monthly performance of almost 53,000 public schools in Punjab across specific educational indicators (such as student attendance, teacher presence, and school facilities). The information collected is evaluated by the Punjab provincial government and 36 district governments, every month in order to monitor progress and identify where further work needs to be done. Stock-take meetings were held with the chief minister every two months to ensure each district is answerable for its performance; and top performers are lauded and poor performers are subject to sanctions.
The paper attempts to measure the degree of public interest in obtaining the information published by the PMIU, and, where interest exists, whether the data is accessed widely or only by a section of potential users. After assessing the impact and implications of making public data widely accessible through the PMIU, the study considers the conditions necessary to make an open data initiative successful in the context of Punjab and proposes recommendations for the provincial government to consider in strengthening the scope and framework of the PMIU.
The study collected data from three contrasting districts in Punjab – Rawalpindi, Hafizabad and Chiniot – chosen on the basis of the adult literacy rate. The perspectives of 250 parents, head teachers and parent-teacher association members in these three districts were measured through surveys. Additionally, interviews were conducted with key educational actors at a provincial level, and focus groups were conducted with teachers and students.
The quantitative and qualitative data collected for the purposes of this report, combined with data from the PMIU, show that an open-data initiative can promote accountability and transparency in the province.
The main findings of the study include:
• The PMIU’s effectiveness is undermined by an elite capture of data: A revaluation of the feasibility of an online platform is needed
• The PMIU currently focuses on access indicators in public schools across the province, The PMIU should capture more quality indicators, to give a clear sense of what children are learning.
• There needs to be greater involvement of non-government actors in education-related decision-making to enable a community-based approach to improving education in local communities and districts.