Education in Open Government
Education in Open Government is a project whose main objective is to foster social and civic competences for the exercise of one's democratic citizenship in children and young people. It involves three phases:
1) Teachers' training via a massive online open course (MOOC).
2) Implementation of educational projects in schools: for this purpose, 3 guides of Education in Open Government have been published: Primary Education, Secondary Education and High School.
3) Evaluation of the experiences.
Nowadays, there is a decline in trust in public institutions and a lack of interest in public affairs. Open Government gives citizens the opportunity to demand transparency and accountability from public administrations, as well as to participate actively in public decision-making. It involves a cultural change that is expected to repair trust in democracy. Education in Open Government aims to accelerate this cultural change, transmitting the principles of Open Government to those citizens who will be making decisions in the future.
The project seeks to educate children and young people to be responsible citizens. Open government education guides for Primary, Secondary Education and High School show open government initiatives adapted to each educational stage, so that students can understand its importance and how they can demand transparency and participate in public affairs. The target population at the present is students, but the benefits will reach the whole of society.
The project started in 2018 in Secondary Education schools in 8 regions of Spain, as well as in 1 Spanish center of Portugal. During the 2018/2019 school year, it is being expanded to other regions and to Primary and High School students. The coordination is carried out by the General Subdirectorate of Open Government (General Directorate of Public Governance).
The evaluation of the pilot project was carried out through a seminar-workshop with participating teachers. In terms of areas of improvement, the following were highlighted: 1) to facilitate the recognition of participating schools, through prizes or awards, and 2) the inclusion of open government education in the academic curriculum. The General Directorate of Public Governance is working on both issues in order to scale the impact of the project.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
It is the first time that a comprehensive educational project specific to Open Government has been carried out. All educational stages have been taken into account: teacher training through a MOOC, elaboration of guidance material, students' education and project evaluation. It is worth noting the coordination process that took place between different public administrations, since Education in Spain is managed by the Autonomous Communities. The project has been led by the General Directorate of Public Governance, through the General Sub-directorate of Open Government. Work has been carried out jointly with the Ministry of Education and Professional Training, through the National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training (INTEF), as well as with different departments of the Autonomous Communities (transparency and education departments). In addition, all the levels of Public Administrations and representatives of civil society have participated.
Collaborations & Partnerships
- General Directorate for Public Governance: coordination and supervision.
- Ministry of Education and Professional Training, through the National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training: developing the MOOC to train teachers and publishing the educational guides.
- Experts in Open Gov from University: elaboration of the guides, MOOC dynamization and teachers' advice.
- Open Government Forum (Public Administrations and Civil Society organisations): guides review.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
- Students of Primary, Secondary and High School: they learn the Open Government concept and its principles, as well as practical cases to apply them in their school, city, etc.
- Teachers: they learn the concept of Open Government and its principles, in order to teach their students.
- Civil Society: the project helps to spread the values of Open Government into society, fostering responsible citizens committed to public affairs.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
Data from pilot experience (2017/2018 school year):
1) Participation data (data collected by the National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training: INTEF):
- MOOC (Massive Online Course): 130 out of 532 teachers from Spain passed the Course.
- Educational project in schools: 20 teachers from Spain developed an educational project in their schools.
2) Teachers' conclusions (data collected from evaluation seminar-workshop):
- Teachers demands:
• Better initial information.
• Coordination in the schools to develop the project
• Institutional support of the schools
• Follow-up during the training process
• Better Scheduling
• Students' interest
• Closer coordination among various bodies of the public administration
• Linking learning and school activity with life and community experience
• Teamwork among the teaching staff
• The support of the management teams
• The exchange of experiences
• Flexibility in the work rhythm of the MOOC
It is expected to have impact in the future: increased participation in public life
Challenges and Failures
The main challenge is to ensure that Education in Open Government reaches all Spanish schools. The best way to achieve this is by including Education in Open Government in the school curriculum. The General Directorate of Public Governance is working on it in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Professional Training.
The challenges encountered during the project implementation involved difficulties in coordination between public administrations, because Education is a competence of the autonomous communities. In addition, there are two kinds of departments in autonomous communities related to Education in Open Government: Transparency or Open Government department and Education department. These communication problems are being solved through the Sectorial Commission of Open Government, where coordination is being addressed.
Conditions for Success
1. Institutional support.
2. Coordination between public administrations.
3. Leadership and guidance from General Directorate for Public Governance, though General Subdirectorate for Open Government.
4. Involvement of school management teams: e.g. by giving awards to involved schools.
5. Teachers' motivation: e.g. course certificates.
The project can be replicated for students in other age groups (University, Professional Training, etc.) and in other countries, adapting the didactic resources: guides and MOOC*. In fact, the pilot experience has been shared in a seminar-workshop with countries of Latin America and Caribbean organized within the Intercoonecta Plan of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
- Learn more about Public Administration and the Government in the digital society.
- Learn how to evaluate social and civic competences related to Open Government.
- Share a common conceptual framework regarding Open Government.
- Know good national and international practices related to transparency, accountability, participation and collaboration in Open Government.
- Identify the potential of information and communication technologies to improve each of these Open Government spheres.
- Promote new democratic values and open up information
The seminar-workshop held to assess the pilot experience was useful to learn about the successes of the project and what can be improved, as well as to maintain a close relationship with the teachers involved. We learned it is necessary to improve the coordination between the involved public administrations, because sometimes the teachers did not receive information in a timely manner or it was not properly explained.
We also learned that it is worth including the Education in Open Government in the school curriculum, in order to increase the schools managing teams’ commitment and to adapt the academic schedule.
The project is being developed during the 2018-2019 school year in Primary, Secondary and High School centers. For the moment, 13 regions have joined the initiative, as well as 3 Spanish centers abroad. Guides are being published in the co-official languages of different regions of Spain.