A case for decentralised education data

Today, the Dutch parliament will discuss the budget of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. This department has been active on open data for some years. In 2015 and 2016 the ministry participated in the government-wide data inventory and the ministry has an active open data policy. There are many datasets available, findable and accessible on education, especially data from the Education Implementation Agency (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs) and the Education Inspection.

Increasing demand for decentralised data

Datasets that are not under direct control of the Ministry are not sufficient available, findable, accessible and re-usable. There is a growing demand for qualitative data that is locked at decentral levels of government. It is important to understand information about for example the goals and prestations of pre-school education and the transition from education to the labour market.

Data that has not become available, despite agreements

Datasets that are not under the control of the Ministry and are managed by municipalities are not sufficient available, findable, accessible and re-usable. Also data behind the website has still not been available as open data, despite agreements between the Education Council and the Ministry.

Data on childcare

Another example of crucial data that has not been disclosed yet on a local level are risk profiles of daycare organisations. It is a subject that the parliament has discussed earlier and even supported a parliamentary motion on. With these open risk profiles, child care organisations are encouraged to raise the quality and it provides information for parents that need to make a well-informed choice. Also, disclosing this type of data helps to gain insight in how government supervisors operate and draw conclusions on risks and quality. Data is hold on a local level with municipalities. Each local governments decides on its own whether or not to open up this data and in what form.

A single decentralised datalist

In the UK there is something called the ‘single data list‘, a list of all the datasets that local government must submit to central government. Governments, local and regional authorities, agencies and ministries exchange a lot of digital government information. To improve the availability and accessibility of data that is crucial for the quality of education, the ministry should work with these local and regional governments to establish a single decentralised datalist.