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Greece

Open Education Data (GR0065)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Greece Action Plan 2019-2022

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, E-Government, Education, Open Data, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Greece Design Report 2019-2021

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Commitment 1: Open access to data of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs

Current situation
The information is now covered by Law 4305/2014 on the «Open access and re-use of documents,
information and public sector data, amendment of Law 3448/2006 (Α΄ 57), adaptation of national
legislation to the provisions of Directive 2013/37/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council,
further strengthening of the transparency, regulation of issues regarding the recruitment competition
of the National School of Public Administration and Local Government and other provisions» (Official
Gazette Α’ 237/31.10.2014), with the differentiations provided for under the Directive regarding
libraries, museums and archives, and a specific provisions regarding the protection of cultural
heritage. The specific provisions of Law 3328/2002 shall remain in force.

Description of Commitment
A wealth of data falling within the scope of Law 4305/2014 is available to the Ministry of Education,
Research and Religious Affairs and its supervised entities and will be made available for re-use in
order to contribute to the development and participation of citizens.

OGP Principles
Access to public information

Implementation entities, stakeholders

Implementation: Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs
Cooperation with supervised entities.

Contact details: Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, Directorate of Electronic-Network
Infrastructure

Objective
1) Web services for data mining (API).
2) Integration of new datasets.
3) Mobilisation of entities of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs for data
publication.
4) Improvement of the quality of datasets.
5) Open data release decisions:

Key milestones - Timetable
Milestone Completion
(1) Web services for data mining (API)
(2) Integration of new data
(3) Activation of Ministry of the Environment (s) for data publication
(4) Improving data quality
(5) Data Release Decisions

IRM Midterm Status Summary

1. Open access to data of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs

Main Objective

The published NAP mentions (p. 7-8) the main objective for this commitment as follows:

"Description of Commitment: A wealth of data falling within the scope of Law 4305/2014 is available to the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs and its supervised entities and will be made available for re-use in order to contribute to the development and participation of citizens."

"Objectives: 1) Web services for data mining (API).

2) Integration of new datasets.

3) Mobilisation of entities of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs for data publication.

4) Improvement of the quality of datasets.

5) Open data release decisions."

Milestones

The published NAP mentions (p.8) the milestones for this commitment as follows:

"1) Web services for data mining (API)

2) Integration of new data

3) Activation of Ministry of the Environment (s) for data publication

4) Improving data quality

5) Data Release Decisions."

Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Greece's action plan at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Greece_Action-Plan_2019-2021_EN.pdf, p.7-8.

IRM Design Report Assessment

Verifiable:

Yes

Relevant:

Yes

Access to Information

Potential impact:

Minor

Commitment analysis

This commitment aims to publish statistical and education data held by the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs (MERA). Since the action plan was adopted, the ministry was renamed the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.

The commitment is verifiable, but it has a very low threshold, as it does not contain details about the criteria for choosing datasets or how to decide to publish them. The commitment has sufficient relevance to the Access to Information OGP value because, if implemented fully, it will lead the government to disclose more statistical and education-related information (milestones 2 and 5) and improve the quality of the information disclosed to the public (milestone 4). [1]

As of May 2019, MERA had published more than 250 datasets on Data.gov.gr [2] and fewer than 10 open datasets on Geodata.gov.gr. [3] Most of this information is annual statistical information about education, including student populations, registers of schools and libraries, details of teaching staff and personnel changes. Despite having published many datasets, MERA's official website [4] has not been found to contain published reports on the lead agency's open data policy and practice. Reports on user satisfaction and uptake of data sets have not been identified. MERA confirmed that no web services and/or APIs existed already upon release of the action plan (May 2019). They said that the new data published (milestone 2) would refer to 2018 statistical data. The Ministry clarified that machine readability and ability for reuse through Creative Commons licenses apply for the most part to data already published. Concerning milestone 5, MERA clarified that there had been two open data release decisions, [5] one in 2018 and one in 2019.

Due to the lack of clear details or identification of datasets, even small advancements may be considered completed results. The lead agency, asked about taking into consideration any experience from implementation of the previous action plan in the design of this commitment, or integrating feedback from the action plan co-creation process, did not affirm either of these. [6] MERA mentioned that the rationale behind choosing datasets to open is based on availability and quality, which have been used as criteria to identify the datasets mentioned in the action plan (registration requests in secondary schools and substitute teacher recruitment for primary education) as well and stated that no relevant stakeholders outside the public sector are involved in this process.

The overall potential impact of the commitment is coded as minor. The commitment, if fully implemented, is expected to make available more datasets and improve the quality for reuse, but it is not clear how it will respond to the needs for 'development and participation of citizens', as indicated in the commitment objective. In terms of government practice, the commitment is unclear about whether it may create noticeable change in the responsibilities or operations of the public institution other than what is already stipulated by the law on access to public sector information. [7] In terms of ambition, milestone 1 on web services constitutes an ambition which, although not technologically innovative, departs from current practice, as no APIs currently exist. The remaining milestones and activities do not depart from current practice and, at the same time, do not constitute any step forward beyond what is already mandatory to achieve according to legislation; thus, they are not considered ambitious.

For future commitments, it would be important to bring in non-governmental stakeholders to identify priority datasets. Non-governmental stakeholder interviews revealed at least two high-value information sets they would like to see published. Academic experts [8] mentioned higher education datasets in general and more specifically the case of datasets with information about university students, some of which are currently published in an overly fragmented and very poor-quality format. At the same time, further desktop research [9] revealed a number of topical issues for this ministry's domain of responsibility, for which publishing open data would have a value and could improve policies and processes. These topics include information around the exams for entering higher education, teacher recruitment, problems in schools, responses to teacher and student mobilisations, changes to school regulations and educational support for underprivileged groups (wildfire victims, remote area inhabitants, refugees, non-Greek nationals, persons with special needs).

[1] The commitment meets some basic requirements for this value as (a) it pertains to government-held information; and (b) it provides open access to information (milestone 5). Still, it is not clear whether and how the commitment meets some further basic requirements for the Access to Information value, namely (c) not be restricted to data but pertain to all information; (d) promote transparency of government decision making and carrying out of basic functions; and (e) strive to meet the 5-Star model for Open Data design.
[4] http://www.minedu.gov.gr/ , as mentioned in the official catalogue of the Hellenic Parliament, at https://www.hellenicparliament.gr/en/news/links/ministries .
[5] An open data release decision is a formal decision taken by a public sector agency which prescribes, in a closed way, the data sets maintained by this agency that must be released as open data.
[6] Email response to the interview questionnaire sent to MERA. Response provided, on 27 May 2020 by Mr. Ioannis Tsourakis, referred to by Mr. Georgios Daskalogiannis, MERA lead contact.
[8] P.Georgiadis, academic expert on electronic governance and former public sector official (Secretary General for Information Systems and Electronic Governance), and Y.Charalambidis, academic expert on open data and electronic government.
[9] Concerning Commitment 1 - Open access to data of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, news headlines concerning the lead Ministry have been desk-searched for the 12-month period prior to action plan release, namely the period from May 2018 up to April 2019. Headline search has been run on a number of Greek investigative journalism news outlets (Protagon.gr, The Press Project, Documento, TVXS) and on the Google News service, using the following queries, respectively: https://cutt.ly/lp5GJgJ ; https://cutt.ly/wp5G0JJ ; https://cutt.ly/9p5Hz8I ; https://cutt.ly/kp5HYrn ; and https://cutt.ly/3p5HGjD . The headlines harvested have been thematically encoded and clustered for topical issues concerning the lead Ministry's domain of responsibility, and the following list of identified topical issues has been produced (numbers in parentheses refer to partial with respect to total harvested results): allowances and services for students and teachers (meals, accommodation, transport, libraries) (5/95); educational support for underprivileged groups (wildfire victims, remote area inhabitants, refugees, non-Greek nationals, persons with special needs) (8/95); evaluation of private post-secondary education institutions, and professional rights granted to diploma-holders (4/95); higher education student transfers (5/95); non-competitive selection processes (direct contract awards, non-permanent staff) (2/95); payroll of clergy members (1/95); planned changes to school education curricula (7/95); planned changes to school education regulations (allowed absences, vaccination rules, timetables, student distinctions) (9/95); problems in private school operations (teacher working conditions, application of public education regulations) (4/95); problems in school operations (bribery, harassment, punishments, parent-teacher disputes) (9/95); responses to student and teacher mobilizations and demands (10/95); rules and calls for school teacher recruitments (11/95); rules for school teacher salary scales and career paths (6/95); and rules, scheduling, results and planned changes of the national exams for entering higher education (14/95). These issues are not listed in any specific order, but they all correspond to topics which (a) fall under the lead Ministry's domain of responsibility; (b) meet the public's interest; and (c) are often the subject of ad hoc, opaque or problematic treatment, as testified by the news harvested. In this respect, releasing open data on these topics would be useful for the public, and could bring forward a positive impact in improving the relevant processes and policies of the lead ministry.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership