Parallel session 2 (26th May) Digital Education Governance Beyond International Comparative Assessment
From Claire Sowton
*Please note: captions are still to be reviewed. We anticipate this work being complete by Aug 22*Chair: Ben Williamson
Governing by Dashboard: Reconfiguring Education Governance in the Global South
Radhika Gorur and Ben Arnold (Deakin University)
Learning from the failed African aid projects of the 20th century, aid agencies now seek to supplement technical and financial aid by focusing also reforming the socio-political and administrative apparatus of recipient nations. Dashboards are emerging as key governance infrastructures to promote such “systems thinking” in the field of development. Dashboards represent a style of governance that is vigorous, responsive, and results oriented. In this paper, we explore the phenomenon of global governing by dashboard, with an empirical focus on the Global Education Policy Dashboard (GEPD) being developed by the World Bank in conjunction with DFID and the Gates Foundation. Set to be piloted in 13 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, the GEPD aims to facilitate the monitoring of the indicators that “drive” learning, from teacher preparedness and school management to “politics, [and] other actors that are affecting everything that is happening in the service delivery level” (World Bank, 2019, p. 62). We draw on press releases, presentations and policy briefs about the GEPD as well as reports and websites relating to World Bank initiatives the underpin the GEPD. We demonstrate that such dashboards are sociotechnical imaginaries that promote particular forms of governance. We explain how the governance prescriptions embedded in such dashboards, which seek to improve aid effectiveness, might inadvertently be undermining some key principles of aid effectiveness.
Dashed Expectations? India’s National Achievement Survey 2017 Dashboards
Joyeeta Dey (University of Melbourne) and Radhika Gorur (Deakin University)
‘Dashboard governance’ aligns with policy ideas of Performance Based Accountability and represents immediacy (“live” data), accessibility (visualised, open data) and actionability. It is sometimes seen as a form of ‘policy diffusion’ where policies travel not through changed legislation, but instruments of governance. However these policy ideas do not always travel so neatly across contexts - getting reshaped, subverted, or even forgotten. Here, we focus on India’s National Assessment Survey (NAS) 2017 dashboard which presented a picture of a remarkably equitable system, with similar performance outcomes for boys and girls; urban and rural schools; and marginalised and dominant social groups. This was at odds with all previous evidence, including previous NAS data. However, despite the stunning evenness of performance in NAS (2017) being made highly visible through the sophisticated yet accessible online dashboards, it led to no heated discussion in the media, or among academics, bureaucrats or practitioners. There were no calls to review the assessment. Instead, the dashboard was largely ignored. NAS 2017 data were incorporated into several powerful accountability measures and indices, even as the glaring contradiction in the data failed to be called into question. Using interviews with selected technical experts, bureaucrats, academics, and journalists, we explore the visibility and impact of the NAS 2017 dashboard and the conversations and actions they have generated or failed to generate. We argue that the focus of NAS and the international agencies supporting it was more on the development of data technologies, the production of timely data, and its incorporation into governance, than on the meaning of the data.
In Search of Legitimacy: Covid-19, Education Policy Responses and Emerging Forms of Public-Private Partnerships
M. Nutsa Kobakhidze (University of Hong Kong)