Education – SDGs/Accountability
Report: Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments
Global Education Monitoring Report
UNESCO 2017 :: 509 pages
In 2017, the second report in the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report series continues its assessment of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal on education (SDG4) and its 10 targets, as well as other related education targets in the SDG agenda.
It also investigates accountability in education, analyzing how all relevant stakeholders can provide education more effectively, efficiently and equitably. The report examines different accountability mechanisms that are used to hold governments, schools, teachers, parents, the international community, and the private sector accountable for inclusive, equitable and quality education.
By analysing which policies make accountability work or fail, and which external factors impact on their success, the 2017/8 GEM Report concludes with concrete recommendations that will help build stronger education systems.
:: Accountability is a process aimed at helping individuals or institutions meet their responsibilities and reach their goals. Actors have an obligation, based on a legal, political, social or moral justification, to provide an account of how they met clearly defined responsibilities.
:: Accountability lacks common definitions across disciplines and may be understood in different ways across languages.
:: Accountability matters enormously for improving education systems but it should be a means to education ends, not an end in itself.
:: People are more likely to deliver if held accountable for decisions. If held accountable for outcomes beyond their control, they will try to avoid risk, minimize their role or adjust their behaviour in unintended ways to protect themselves.
:: Trust is largely absent when actors operate in fear of punishment. A shared purpose, which fosters trust, is central to effective accountability.
:: Education actors are held to account through political processes, laws and regulations, performance evaluations, market competition, social pressure and professional norms.
:: Different approaches to accountability may be effective in some contexts and for some aspects of education and detrimental in and for others. No one approach is universally effective at all times.
:: Accountability needs to emphasize building more inclusive, equitable, good-quality education systems and practices instead of blaming individuals.
:: No approach to accountability will be successful without a strong enabling environment that provides actors with the resources, capacity, motivation and information to fulfil their responsibilities.
:: To accomplish the larger shared aims of education, policy-makers must recognize actors’ interdependence and work towards systems that incorporate mutual accountability approaches.