The Cost of corruption in higher education

Author(s) : Heyneman, Stephen P.; Anderson, Kathryn H.; Nuraliyeva, Nazym

Imprint : 2007

Collation :

p. 1-25

Series : Comparative Education Review, 52, 1

Corruption was symptomatic of business and government interactions in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union before and during the economic transition of the 1990s. Corruption is difficult to quantify, but the perception of corruption is quantifiable. Nations can even be arranged along a hierarchy by the degree to which they are perceived as being corrupt, for instance, in their business practices or in the administration of public responsibilities. Based on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index for 2005, a world map shows how pervasive corruption remains in the public sector. According to this index, countries in the former USSR region, including Central Asia and the Caucasus, were among the most corrupt countries in the world in 2005. With the breakup of the USSR and decentralization, ministries and local governments operated more independently than under the planned economy. The central government's enforcement mechanisms weakened, and rent-seeking (using administrative position for personal gain) activity was not as effectively monitored as under central planning. The result, at least in the earliest years of independence, was an increase in overall corruption and inefficiency at many levels of government and administration, and the education sector was not immune from these forces. Ministry of Education officials began to demand bribes for accreditation and procurement. Administrators demanded bribes for admission, housing, book rental, grades, exams, and transcripts. Teachers demanded bribes for admission, grades and exams, and book purchases. This article illustrates the extent of higher-education corruption by citing student surveys in six countries--the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Moldova, Serbia, and Bulgaria. These surveys suggest that corruption varies in accordance with the market demand for the subject of study, with higher frequencies of corruption found in the subjects in highest demand. Also, corruption is more likely to be found in local universities with local professional codes of conduct and less likely to be found in universities accredited in Europe or North America. (Contains 8 tables, 3 figures and 34 footnotes.)

  • Admission to school / university, Codes of conduct, Corporate sector, Corruption, Bribery, Diagnostic tools / surveys, Perception surveys, Economic and social development, Educational management, Central administration, Decentralization, Local government, Examinations and diplomas, Governance, Non-governemental organizations, Procurement, Public sector, Quality assurance and accreditation, Teachers, Higher education
  • Americas and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, International
    Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova R, Serbia