This module is a resource for lecturers  




This section contains suggestions for in-class and pre-class educational exercises, while a post-class assignment for assessing student understanding of the Module is suggested in a separate section.

The exercises in this section are most appropriate for classes of up to 50 students, where students can be easily organized into small groups in which they discuss cases or conduct activities before group representatives provide feedback to the entire class. Although it is possible to have the same small group structure in large classes comprising a few hundred students, it is more challenging and the lecturer might wish to adapt facilitation techniques to ensure sufficient time for group discussions as well as providing feedback to the entire class. The easiest way to deal with the requirement for small group discussion in a large class is to ask students to discuss the issues with the four or five students sitting closest to them. Given time limitations, not all groups will be able to provide feedback in each exercise. It is recommended that the lecturer makes random selections and tries to ensure that all groups get the opportunity to provide feedback at least once during the session. If time permits, the lecturer could facilitate a discussion in plenary after each group has provided feedback.

All exercises in this section are appropriate for both graduate and undergraduate students. However, as students' prior knowledge and exposure to these issues vary widely, decisions about the appropriateness of exercises should be based on their educational and social context. The lecturer is encouraged to relate and connect each exercise to the key issues of the Module.

It is recommended that lecturers begin building a conducive and sympathetic environment at the start of class and before conducting the very first exercise. This can be done by breaking the ice in a supportive way, by respectfully examining students' starting orientations to corruption, and by demonstrating genuine interest in their perspectives. Once students come to see the lecturer as respectful, genuinely interested in their orientation to the material, and consistent in policing any snide or unsupportive comments by class members, that safe environment will enable effective learning and development.    

To prepare for using case studies as a teaching methodology, lecturers can consult the short but informative " Leading Case Discussions" from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The case studies and the exercises that follow lend themselves to a variety of teaching techniques, including individual and group-based discussion, debates, and role plays. Using traditional or digital polling tools, students can take an initial vote on how to resolve a problem, then discuss the problem with the lecturer, and then vote again to see if they have altered their views. If classrooms have access to the Internet, lecturers can consider using a software for creating and editing documents online (such as Google Docs) to record written responses of either individual students or groups. Debates are well-suited to students who are hesitant to express their personal views, because students are expressing a view that they do not have to defend as their own personal view. Role plays are well-suited for creating awareness of the variety of persons and interests involved in ethical issues, and may also help to create empathy.

From among the case studies suggested in Exercises 2-4 below, lecturers should choose the material best suited to the challenges posed by their context. For more examples, from different parts of the world, lecturers can review the following articles:


Pre-class exercise 1: What kind of environment are students and lecturers familiar with?

The lecturer can assign students to take either before or during the class the quiz " How corrupt are you?" and then share the resulting percentages with the students. Results will likely be most relevant if quiz takers base their answers on the perceptions of the majority of people in their country. The lecturer facilitates a discussion of the quiz results, different environments, and the difficult issues raised.


Pre-class exercise 2: Ice-breaker

In the class, as an ice-breaker exercise, Internet and digital technology permitting (e.g. immediate response devices or clickers), the lecturer can ask students to write the first word that comes to mind when thinking about corruption in education. The technology should be used to collect responses and generate a word cloud, which is a visual display of how frequent the different words appear (which are the most popular and obvious) and which are the words and concepts less thought of. The lecturer can use this as a departure point for introducing the diverse and often less obvious manifestations of corruption in education (see discussion in Key issues section on "What is corruption in education").


Exercise 1: Corruption Survey

Before class, have students review the UNODC Manual on Corruption Surveys. In class, select one of the corruption problems students have identified with education, preferably one that impacts students directly. In groups, ask students to draft a short survey. Ask students to give their survey to another group of students in the same class, and then lead discussion on the results.

Lecturer guidelines

A more complex but rewarding experiential exercise would take students into the school or community to administer and then discuss the survey, although this would take considerably more time, effort and preparation and would have to be accompanied by discussions and approvals regarding privacy and research ethics.


Exercise 2: "Buy your degree" case study

A student working full-time at a low paying job sees an advertisement for an undergraduate degree in business that does not require class attendance. Compared to other online degrees, this university is quite low in price, something the student can afford. There are no prerequisites to register for the course, and no minimum required time allocated for course-taking and study. The student pays the low fees, and after doing minimal work in a few courses, receives the degree. The student then applies for a job and is hired for a position based on this degree.

Lecturer guidelines

To support this case study, the lecturer can assign this report. Use the following questions to guide student discussion of the case:

  • Does this case study raise the issue of corruption? If yes, what act of corruption and by who? 
  • What prompted the student to seek this degree? 
  • What conditions allow the university to offer this kind of substandard programme? 
  • What does quality assurance mean, generally, and in the context of corruption in education? 
  • What are the red flags that a degree does not have sufficient quality and credibility, and may in fact be the object of a corrupt transaction?

Exercise 3: "Bribes for admission" case study

An elite university in a developing country has an established practice of students paying bribes to be admitted, with additional payments required to secure a scholarship. On the other hand, an elite university in a developed country has an established practice of accepting large contributions from donors to create scholarships, fund research and construct buildings in their name, which in turn greatly increases the likelihood that the donor's children will be admitted. 

Lecturer guidelines

The two cases are meant to prompt reflection on the corruption issues raised when payments are made to secure university admission for students in developing compared to developed countries. However, lecturers may also choose only one of the two examples to focus on, depending on the time available and the context relevant to students. To supplement these cases studies, and for more detail on how bribes for entry into university arise in these contrasting cases, lecturers can assign this article. On the subject of bribery in developed countries, the lecturer can also review this article.

Use the following questions to guide student discussion of the case:

  • Are the elite universities in these countries engaging in corruption, and if yes, why is it corruption?
  • How are the activities of the universities similar and how are they different? 
  • What do you think are the actual and potential costs to and benefits for these universities to engage in such admission practices?
  • Does the fact that the first payment is undisclosed to the university and the second payment is disclosed make a difference? Why or why not?
  • What factors might make disclosed payments appear less like corruption, e.g. the amount or the timing?
  • Would it make a difference in either country if the university was private or public?

Exercise 4: "Sexual corruption" case study

Assume you are on the university committee in the respective universities charged with determining how to respond to the lecturers' actions described below. Address each case separately and then compare the two cases. 

Scenario one: A lecturer threatens a student with course failure, unless the student provides sexual favours to the lecturer.

Scenario two: A student performs acceptably in the class, and after the class is completed the student begins to assist the lecturer with research for a book. To thank the student for this assistance, the lecturer takes the student to lunch, where they have a long talk. The student feels "a connection" to the lecturer, and eventually they begin dating. The student has never had a romantic relationship before. After a while, the lecturer and the student have sex in the lecturer's office on two occasions. Once reported to the ethics board of the institution, the lecturer insists that the two had a romantic relationship. 

Lecturer guidelines

The two cases are meant to prompt reflection on the ethical and corruption issues raised when lecturers have sexual relations with students, in two different circumstances. However, lecturers can also determine that one of the examples better addresses the challenges raised in their country and focus on that one. If the lecturer wants to use this comparative approach but feels that discussing sexual matters is inappropriate in their context, the lecturer can modify the case studies by referring to gifts or other favours.

To support this case study, the lecturer can assign this article. The lecturer can also note that the second case study is based on the case of Tey Tsung Hang, a lecturer at the NUS Faculty of Law in Singapore. Additional reading material on sexual exploitation in education includes Fiona Leach's article on corruption as abuse of power in the TI's Global Corruption Report: Education (2013) or this news article

Use the following questions to guide student discussion of the case:

  • Was there corruption in these cases? Why or why not? 
  • What are the similarities and differences between the two cases? 
  • In the second case, was there any unacceptable or corrupt behaviour while the student was in the lecturer's course? What about after the student was no longer in the lecturer's course? 
  • What is the problem posed by a lecturer who has sex with a student not currently in his course, but in a degree programme that he/she teaches in? For example, how would it be relevant if the student could take further courses with the lecturer? How is a student, or his/her peers, vulnerable in this context?
  • In both cases, what is the appropriate penalty for the lecturer, and should the penalties be different for the various cases? 
  • Some countries might impose a penalty on the student, would that be the right thing to do? Why or why not?
  • What policies would you want to design to deter the corrupt behaviours identified in these examples?
Next: Possible class structure
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