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Romania

Open Data and Transparency in Education (RO0044)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Romania Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research

Support Institution(s): Subordinate agencies of the ministry (ARACIS, ARACIP, UEFISCDI, UTIE) Schools inspectorates; Open Educational Resources Coalition Romania

Policy Areas

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

IRM Review

IRM Report: Romania Mid-Term Report 2016-2018, Romania End-of-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Status quo or problem addressed by the commitment Educational policies and the perception of citizens about the public education system are encumbered by the lack of concrete, certified information about the system. Without relevant indicators, the debate on the educational system cannot have real substance and the sectorial policies can hardly be assessed. In the past years, new computer systems that allow the generation of data have been introduced or improved in the public education system. Main objective Improving transparency in the public education system Brief description of commitment The objective of the commitment is the publishing in an open format of the education data and indicators owned by the MENCS and subordinate institutions OPG challenge addressed by the commitment Efficient management of public resources; Improving public services Relevance The commitment improves the access of the public to information from the education sector, increases public accountability of the decision-making authorities and makes use of new technologies. Ambition The commitment brings transparency to internal processes that are already started, but also contributes significantly to the internal coherence of policy adoption and implementation.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

15. Open data and transparency in education

Commitment Text:

The objective of the commitment is the publishing in an open format of the education data and indicators owned by the MENCS and subordinate institutions.

Main Objective:

Improving transparency in the public education system.

Milestones:

    • Identification of all computer systems and databases of the MENCS and subordinate institutions that are either already in use, being implemented or being prepared.
    • Determine, following public consultation, which are the essential datasets from the education system that are to be published on the national open data portal.
    • Establishing the internal procedures and publishing the datasets.
    • Regulation of an internal policy of the MENCS to establish that any new computer system to be introduced will have a compulsory component that will allow export of data to the open data portal

Responsible Institution: Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research (MENCS)

Supporting Institution(s): Subordinate agencies of the ministry (ARACIS, ARACIP, UEFISCDI, UTIE), school inspectorates, Open Educational Resources Coalition Romania

Start date: September 2016                                                  End date: June 2017

Editorial Note: The commitment text is abridged. The full text can be found in the OGP 2016–2018 national action plan.

Commitment Aim

This commitment aimed to improve the open data available in education, by creating an inventory of computer systems and databases available at the level of the MENCS and of its subordinate institutions (Milestone 1), and by selecting those that can and should be published on data.gov.ro (Milestone 2). Moreover, it aimed to strengthen educational policies and improve the perception of citizens about the public education system by publishing certified information about the system (Milestones 3 and 4), in particular through the two systems: (1) The Integrated Information System of the Romanian Educational System (SIIIR); and (2) The Registry System for Universities (RMU).

STATUS

Midterm: Limited

MENCS had not started identifying all its computer systems and databases, establishing internal procedures to publish them, nor mandating that all new computer systems have a data export component at the time of the 2016–2017 IRM progress report. Two public consultations took place in 2017 and resulted in the identification of the essential datasets to be opened. Moreover, a civil society representative argued that the MENCS made an inventory of its datasets and consulted with civil society on which ones could be legally published. [101]

End-of-term: Substantial

According to the government’s self-assessment report, MENCS conducted the inventory of all of its computer systems and databases and established the internal procedures necessary to publish them. The procedures remain to be vetted by a designated commission and some datasets (e.g. exam grades, school network, and teacher scales) were published on data.gov.ro. [102] According to the civil society representative, Milestone 4 was not completed due to the fact that the software behind SIIIR [103] is retained by the private supplier. Owing to this privileged position, the supplier charges high support and maintenance fees, thereby discouraging efforts to open more educational datasets. [104]

Did it Open Government?

Access to information: Marginal

According to a civil society representative, after the inventory, MENCS published only the easy-to-publish datasets, while the more complex ones were not published. MENCS lacked the necessary staff to correctly anonymize the data, and there was no political will. [105] Moreover, the opened datasets are not often updated—for example, in November 2018 the latest data on exam grades was from 2017. [106]

Carried forward?

This commitment will not be continued in the 2018–2020 national action plan.

[101] Ovidiu Voicu, Centre for Public Integrity, interview by IRM researcher on 8 November 2018.

[102] “National Action Plan 2016–2018: Self-assessment report”, Open Government Partnership, 2018, page 59, available [in Romanian] at https://bit.ly/2vv2yw7.

[103] SIIIR is the information system used by MENCS to collect and manage the data that the subordinate institutions of MENCS have to periodically provide. More information is available [in Romanian] at https://goo.gl/7HRJ4y.

[104] Ovidiu Voicu, Centre for Public Integrity, interview by IRM researcher on 8 November 2018.

[105] Ovidiu Voicu, Centre for Public Integrity, interview by IRM researcher on 8 November 2018.

[106] The datasets are available at https://goo.gl/qrDX5t.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership