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Student assessment


This section provides a suggestion for a post-class assignment for the purpose of assessing student understanding of the Module. Suggestions for in-class assignments are provided in the Exercises section.

The aim of this assignment is to encourage students to interrogate the causes of corruption and propose solutions that correspond with these causes in particular spheres of public sector activity.            

1. Ask students to write a 2,500-word essay on the following topic: Focus on one sphere of the public sector (e.g. public health delivery, public education, judiciary, police) and discuss the changes that can be made to reduce the opportunities for corruption in that sector.

2. Give students the option to interview someone who is employed as a civil servant, preferably one with some discretion over government resources. Students should ask the interviewee about the corruption risks in their office or job, as well as what measures would or would not work to reduce corruption, and why. Students should take notes during the interview, and submit the notes together with their own analysis of the interview. To achieve optimal effect, this assignment should be done in steps, with feedback from the lecturer on, for example, choice of interviewee, to ensure that the students' focus remains relevant to the Module. (If this exercise is used, it is important to prepare students on the issue of privacy and confidentiality, and students should establish whether interviewees wish to remain anonymous or not.)

3. Students may be given the option of making a video that reflects the results of corruption, together with their analysis of this example of corruption. The subject of public procurement of goods or services can work in this exercise, but students must be able to find some proof, such as newspaper articles or committee reports, that corruption as opposed to, for example, merely sloppy work was the cause.

4. Ask students to identify a state-owned enterprise (SOE) in their country or region, and then to try to find the rules that set out how the SOE is governed and run. If time allows and if it exists, students may be able to use relevant legislation on freedom of information to access this information. For the assessment, students should submit the name, line of business and size (e.g. budget, number of employees) of the SOE; the efforts they made to source the relevant rules; the results of their search; and what the results reflect about the SOE's level of transparency. As an additional challenge, students can be asked to find the rules that govern private companies of similar size to the SOEs chosen, which should be reflected in legislation on companies and corporations. Students can then compare the level of transparency between rules governing private companies and SOEs, and how that is relevant to combating corruption.

5. For a more challenging task that requires pre-class preparation, ask students to participate in an in-class debate on SOEs as part of their assessment. Students should do prepatory reading, such as the 2015 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises , and should be assigned to argue for or against one or both of the following propositions:

(1) States should not engage in ownership of enterprises (SOEs) because the risk of corruption is too great and commercial activity should be left to private parties; and

(2) States should be able to run SOEs in a relatively non-transparent manner because they should be able to keep sensitive information confidential.

After the debate, the lecturer should conduct a debriefing, eliciting what students really think about the issue and why.

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