A literature overview of accountability and EdTech

Recommendations for using technology to improve accountability in educational systems from Ghana and other LMICs

Introduction and context

Learning outcomes can improve significantly when local stakeholders are empowered to engage with their school’s decision-making (⇡Atuhurra, 2016). Decentralised, system-wide decision-making is thus integral and, in practice, this requires system-wide accountability: when stakeholders are truly involved with decision-making, then they will also be asked to take responsibility for their decision-making and be supported in this role. Feedback is data-driven and is given to all contributing stakeholders (teachers and parents as well as district officers and government ministers) in a nurturing and constructive way with a focus on supporting the future growth of each stakeholder group.  

Holistic integration of education technology (EdTech) can increase stakeholders’ participation in decentralised, system-wide accountability in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Technological tools enable practitioner monitoring and learner tracking to be carried out in an efficient way. Thus, technology for accountability can address a widespread issue of teacher absence among other foundational issues around educational effectiveness (⇡Kremer, et al., 2013). 

Such data can additionally be harnessed to support our central concern, which asks how stakeholder involvement can be maximised via EdTech use during and after school transformation initiatives. Accordingly, the present document reports related research that collectively offers lessons on how EdTech can be used to support accountability within and across Ghana’s educational system.  

The overall aim of this report is to inform the Ghanaian government’s new accountability programme in partnership with the World Bank (Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Program) by bringing lessons and evidence from past relevant efforts. To do this, we seek to indicate where the gaps are in this research area as well as to identify some potential directions for upcoming research. In addressing this goal, we align our research interest with The EdTech Hub’s Problem Analysis by focusing on ways to address the global learning crisis and ultimately improve outcomes for the most marginalised learners. 

Practical suggestions are included regarding potentially fruitful connections to other individuals and organisations for such research (Appendix). We further anticipate our findings to inform others in the field who are interested in related research, and practitioners in other LMICs who are considering designing and implementing accountability efforts in the education sector.

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