Corruption risks in education

Corruption in education is sector-wide. It may be found in all areas of educational planning and management – school financing, recruitment, promotion and appointment of teachers, building of schools, supply and distribution of equipment and textbooks, admission to universities, and so on.

IIEP has drawn a typology of those main areas (see table below).

Typology of opportunities of corruption in education

Areas of planning/management

Examples of opportunities for corrupt practices
Finance and allocation of specific allowances
Leakage of funds
Collection of illegal fees
Construction, maintenance and school equipment
Fraud in public tendering
Inflation of costs and activities
Teacher management and behaviour
Ghost teachers
Fraud in the appointment and deployment of staff
Private tutoring
Examinations and diplomas
Access to universities
Institution accreditation
Examination fraud
Diploma mills and false credentials
Fraud in the accreditation process
Information systems
Manipulating data
Irregularity in producing and publishing information

Source: adapted from Hallak and Poisson, 2007.

As shown in the table, within each of the planning/management areas corrupt practices can take many forms, including embezzlement, bypassing of criteria, and favouritism. Manipulation of information and statistical data are among the concerns that cut across all of these areas.
In order to reduce such practices, particular attention must be paid to integrating anti-corruption issues into education planning, with an in-depth examination of risk analysis, definition of clear norms and standards, setting up of transparent procedures, development of management capacities, better access to information, etc.
In this context, IIEP has commissioned several studies as part of its programme on ‘Ethics and corruption in education’, to document the experiences of countries that have succeeded in improving transparency and accountability in specific areas of educational planning and management. Areas include in particular: formula funding of schools, academic fraud, and adverse effects of private tutoring (to find out more about the major results of these studies, refer to ETICO Page on Publications). More recently, IIEP has launched work on teacher codes of conduct and transparency in the targeting and management of pro-poor incentives.