Leveraging the fight for stronger openness in education

This blog has been jointly written by Muriel Poisson (IIEP-UNESCO) and Javiera Atenas (Open Education Working Group): their full bio’s can be found below this post.

Education and corruption: these two themes tend to come out in every discussion about development, although, there is little discussion on corruption in the educational systems, or how to teach students and teachers to learn about corruption, ethics and governance. Open school data and open education resources constitute two distinctive areas, but which both contribute actively to the improvement of transparency and accountability within education systems:

  • Open school data constitute a powerful tool to promote citizen control over the transfer and use of financial, material and human resources. Their publication allows the users of the system to better know their rights and to stand up for them.
  • Open education resources, the development of open textbooks, and the adoption of OSS also contribute to promote more transparent practices across the educational sector, with the support of the Open Education Community.

Improving accountability via open school data

The UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO) maintains ETICO, an online platform which provides resources to fight corruption in education and to provide the community with instruments to understand what corruption may mean. As summarised on ETICO, corruption may be found in all areas of educational planning and management – school financing, recruitment, promotion and appointment of teachers, building of schools, supply and distribution of equipment and textbooks, admission to universities, and so on”.

The tool has recently been relaunched with improved features and updated content on ethics and corruption in education. It provides open, easy access to all of IIEP’s research and training materials on the subject, a media library, a global agenda, and over 1,000 press articles on corruption in education.

In addition to a multitude of other resources, ETICO brings to the forefront new initiatives around the use of open data. Its users can access IIEP’s research on an in-depth review of 14 school report card (SRC) initiatives from around the world, which was published as a book in late 2016. It shows that school report cards can be powerful tools to engage communities and hold schools accountable for providing students with a high-quality education. If the process is inclusive and participatory, SRCs can serve as a unique channel allowing education stakeholders to make more informed decisions based on school-level data.

 

Improving accountability via open education resources

When the open education and science communities talk about transparency, they often have in mind developing open resources and opening up their academic, teaching and research practices, promoting data sharing, and publishing in Open Access Journals, and collaborating towards widening up the participation in the sciences and humanities, and also at the school level by engaging students and teachers in co-creating knowledge by using open resources and practices.

The Open Education Working Group, in partnership with other organisations such as the Open Initiative for Open Data (ILDA), Núcleo REA, Abriendo Datos Costa Rica and Giggap, have been working towards promoting openness and the use of Open Data for teaching and learning, by giving workshops for academics in Uruguay and Costa Rica. Also, A Scuola di Open Coesione in Italy has been training secondary school teachers and students in using open data to teach citizenship skills, and Monithon Italy works with higher education students to help them with developing and understanding policy by using Open Data.

As a community, we need to start thinking about fighting corruption in the educational systems, promoting a more transparent and open governance, supporting the adoption of Open Contracting Partnership and its standards and work towards developing policies that not only promote the sharing and openness of resources, data and research papers but also fair contracting, transparent governance and accountability of educational institutions. Also governments need to be more transparent with their budgets and how the finance schools and universities and how public funds are administered towards improving education and research.

How to contribute to the ETICO online resource platform

ETICO serves anti-corruption specialists working in ministries, international organizations and agencies, non-governmental organizations, universities, and research institutions as well as policy makers and others. Its main features are available in English, French and Spanish and include:

  • a resource base of over 650 items including case studies, analytical tools and country-specific documents,
  • over 1,000 press articles on corruption in education going back to 2001,
  • a media library presenting short films on the subject from around the world,
  • a global agenda of all related events,
  • a quarterly bulletin about ethics and corruption in education (subscribe here),
  • a blog featuring innovative initiatives designed to tackle corruption.

Users now have more opportunity to get involved, share resources on the subject and contribute to the blog. The enhanced search function also has the ability to scan thousands of national and international documents, media articles, and IIEP’s training materials and research findings spanning over 15 years.

How to contribute to the Open Education Working Group Initiatives in Open Data

If you have a case study or if you are using open data as school or HE level, or if you are interested in organising a training session on open data for academics, management or policy makers, email us at OKFN.edu@gmail.com. You can read more about the Open Education working group at https://education.okfn.org.

 

Authors:

Muriel Poisson (@etico_iiep) is the task manager of the IIEP-UNESCO’s project on Ethics and Corruption in Education. She is responsible for research and training activities dealing with a variety of topics on the issue, such as the use of open education data, public expenditure tracking surveys, teacher codes of conduct, and academic fraud.

In this capacity, she trained more than 2,000 people on how to design and implement diagnostic tools aimed at assessing distorted practices in the use of education resources; and on how to design and implement strategies to improve transparency and accountability in education. She also provides technical assistance in the area of transparency and integrity planning, for instance to national teams in charge of the development of an integrity risk assessment, a PETS, or a code of conduct. Finally, she is managing the ETICO resource platform, a dynamic platform for all information and activities related to transparency and accountability issues in education.

Muriel has authored and co-authored a number of articles and books, including: ‘Corrupt Schools, Corrupt Universities: What Can Be Done?’ (UNESCO Press).

 

Javiera Atenas has a PhD in Education and is the co-coordinator of the Open Education Working Group and the Education Lead of the Open American Initiative for Open Data. She is responsible for the Open Data agenda, with focus in capacity building across the higher education sector towards supporting the adoption Open Educational Practices and policy development.

She works with the OpenMed project for capacity building in South Mediterranean countries and is an associate lecturer at the University of Barcelona, Spain. She has also authored a series of papers and studies about Open Education and Open Data.

 

 

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