28 August 2012

Israeli Ministry of Education ordered to release school performance records

After six years of fighting for their right to information, the Israeli Supreme Court has found in favour of a group of concerned parents, ordering the Ministry of Education to release data about the scores received by individual schools in national and international comparative studies.

In his analysis of the judgment (which is only available in Hebrew), Roy Peled, board member and former director of the Movement for Freedom of Information in Israel reported that in determining to release the data to the parents, the court commented "public review is often more important than a judicial review" and "...the idea that the public is incapable of understanding the information cannot be accepted in a democratic society..."

The case is therefore important for its recognition of not only the extent of the right to information, but the right and capacity of ordinary citizens to analyse the information that government collects, and to use that information to empower them to make informed decisions, in this instance about their children's education.

The concerned parents, most of whom are from impoverished neighbourhoods, are now in a position to make informed choices about what schools to send their children to, and to lobby government for increased resources at poorly performing schools in their neighbourhoods.

For more information on how you can use PAIA to access your right to education, download the Accessing Information for your Community guide.