Forms and extent of corruption in education en Sri Lanka: research report
The topics covered in the study include school admissions, teacher appointments, transfers and promotions, activities of school development societies (SDS), fees and payments, tuition classes and abuse of the district quota system. A representative sample of parents, teachers and education officials have been interviewed during the study. The consensus among those interviewed was that the government school system had declined. This was attributed to politicization of the education system including appointments and transfers and a shift in the view that teaching was a vocation, making this profession less prestigious. They viewed school admissions as being highly corrupt. The allegations included bribing principals; having to seek favours from politicians and education directors; roping in intermediaries at a high cost; nepotism and mandatory `donations' to schools or SDSs. The study found that all children did not get a level playing field with regard to education. The status of the parents and their level of education played an important role in securing better educational opportunities for children, compromising the principle of equality in education. There was a firm belief among those interviewed that the richer the household, the better the chance of the child performing well. Referring to politicisation, it was pointed out that many posts for acting principals and subject directors were filled with political appointees, even though some of them were not qualified. There was much dissatisfaction among both teachers and officers with regard to salary increments and loans, with claims that the system was highly politicized. Every study location reported delays in increments, with many teachers and officers stating that bribes had to be offered or political influence sought to expedite increments. As for the misuse of power by principals and officials, it was revealed that in the absence of regulations on the recruitment of volunteer teachers, principals were appointing them at school-level without following a transparent procedure.