Academic fraud, quality assurance learning from the past and challenges for the future
This paper starts by contextualizing the current trend of increasing academic fraud and corrupt practices in quality assurance and accreditation processes. Several factors are considered, such as the diversification of higher education services and delivery systems, increased competition among students and institutions, globalization and the cross-border education phenomenon. The next section focuses on the opportunities for fraud and corruption that have been observed in two different contexts: first, in countries in which mechanisms for examination and accreditation are under the authority of central public bodies; and second, in countries where these mechanisms are regulated and controlled by non-governmental bodies. The next section considers six key strategies that can be adopted to address these challenges, namely: regulating the market by means of transparent criteria, reducing the risks of conflict of interest, using more appropriate management tools, developing standards and codes of practice, facilitating public access to information and establishing and using awareness indicators, commonly referred to as red flags. After presenting the rationale behind each strategy, the paper then provides examples of good practices. The paper concludes with policy recommendations.