This module is a resource for lecturers
The education sector, one of the largest budget items in many countries, presents many opportunities for corrupt practices. Corruption in this sector is particularly devastating as it can lead to poor quality education, inferior performance and higher drop-out rates, which in turn can lead to increased levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality. While corruption in the education sector is difficult to measure, it is a recognized challenge for many countries. Indeed, with youth making up approximately one-fifth of the total population in many developing regions, including the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and South Asia, investing in education and strengthening integrity and transparency in this sector will have a positive impact on preventing and addressing the challenges of corruption.
Education, whether public or private, has been recognized as a fundamental human right and a vehicle to attaining other human rights (see articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). The absence of corruption is a necessary condition not only to achieve quality education, but also to enable access to and assure equity in education (Hallak and Poisson, 2002). However, education systems worldwide are vulnerable to many acts of corruption. Examples of corruption in education include the admission of students for cash or as a favour to family or friends, the awarding of undeserved pass marks in exchange for sexual favours, and the undue churning out of degrees to gain institutional advantage. These are just some of the many examples of how corruption can manifest in education. Owing to the fundamental role of education in developing reliable human capital to support viable economies, there is a special need to safeguard education from corruption.
This Module intends to create awareness of the importance of corruption-free education, and to point out the challenges involved in recognizing and eradicating corruption in educational institutions. The Module outlines key considerations for studying this phenomenon, and encourages discussions on ways to prevent, detect and address corruption in education. Some common factors known to draw actors in education into corrupt practices are described. The Module provides opportunities to engage with relevant issues by, for example, shedding light on the cost implications borne by societies when education processes and skills allocation are distorted by corruption. Finally, the Module invites critical reflection on possible anti-corruption strategies tailored for this sector. The discussion below is structured as follows: manifestation, costs and causes of corruption in education, and how to fight this corruption.
The following sections of the module provide an overview of:
- Manifestation of corruption in education
- Costs of corruption in education
- Causes of corruption in education
- Fighting corruption in education