The publishing of Open Government Data (OGD) supposedly provides the public with unprecedented access to information. Yet this potential can only be realised in conjunction with an understanding that this openness of data affords an opportunity for its utilisation as Open Educational Resources (OER) (Atenas et al. 2015). The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is premised on the principles of transparent, accountable and responsive government (OGP 2016). Its objectives include upholding the UN Convention Against Corruption and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and achieving better public service outcomes through open governance. In embracing the OGP, participating countries commit to implement policies that place government information in the public domain. This involves promoting the use of digital technologies to enhance access to government data and resourcing the development of portals, repositories and analytical tools to enable these data to be used effectively.
Although partnering nations share similar democratic foundations, they enact their OGP commitments to foster political engagement, create mechanisms for achieving accountability and quality assurance, and encourage innovation, in a variety of different ways. While many commitments recognise the importance of both access to public information and data and civic education and participation, strategies to enhance these are not necessarily ‘joined up’, and notwithstanding some exemplary initiatives, this potential appears to be thus far underutilised. We will evaluate the OGP national commitments relating to civic education and public participation with a view to promoting an effective model for developing an engaged, critical and active citizenship.
Although there are some OGP initiatives which are directed specifically towards Open Education (e.g., production of OER, Open Textbooks), our concern in this paper is therefore focused at the larger question of how the opening of public data and educational initiatives can be mutually supportive. Our key objective is to present an Open Pedagogy of Citizenship, informed by critical pedagogy and social justice, to support the development of action plans of OGP nations, and civic education more widely. This model seeks to empower learners and members of the open education community to become cognisant of the rhetorical and influential techniques used by governments, the media and corporations, so that they can become more effective information gatherers (detectors) and influential agents (effectors) in society (Davies 2010; Hood and Margetts 2007). We will highlight the benefits of scaffolding statistical, political and media literacies as the basis for curricula aimed at citizenship training. We promote Civic Monitoring as an open educational practice for educating engaged democratic citizens who become better able to construct their own political visions. Finally, we provide practical recommendations to guide OGP nations in the development and implementation of policies that utilise Open Data as OER, so as to assist in the realisation of an education that is consistent with a commitment to transparent governance and active participatory citizenship.
Atenas, J., Havemann, L., & Priego, E. 2015: Open data as open educational resources: Towards transversal skills and global citizenship. Open Praxis, 7(4), 377–389. http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.7.4.233
Davies, T. 2010: Open data, democracy and public sector reform. A look at open government data use from data.gov.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2017 from http://www.opendataimpacts.net/report/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/How-is-open-government-data-being-used-in-practice.pdf
Hood, C.C. and Margetts, H.Z. 2007: The tools of government in the digital age. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Open Government Partnership. 2016: Open Government Partnership: Open by default: Policy by the people: Accountability for the results. Retrieved 25 November 2017 from http://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/091116_OGP_Booklet_digital.pdf