Integrity and transparency in education in Bangladesh

Representatives from the education and health sectors, and donor agencies working in both sectors in Bangladesh, expressed genuine determination to address corruption at the three-day workshop on Strengthening integrity and transparency in the education and health sectors in Bangladesh, held in Savar, Bangladesh from 31 March to 2 April 2014.

Education and health actors agree – Anti-corruption agenda is a priority

This event initiated by the Swedish Embassy was co-organized with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, benefitting from the contributions of IIEP resource experts.

Both authorities and staff of the Ministries of Health and Education are aware of the main governance problems and corruption risks. Participants from the Directorate of Primary Education, the Office of the Auditor General, the Anti-corruption Commission, BRAC, CAMPE and Transparency International Bangladesh, among others, thus emphasized such malpractices as misallocation of stipends; inflated prices for school construction and maintenance; political influence over the choice of school location; ghost supplies; ghost teachers; favouritism in teacher management; private tutoring; teacher absenteeism; leakage of test papers; and manipulation of data at central and school level.

IIEP facilitated the discussions on a variety of topics, including survey methods for assessing corruption problems, petty corruption and informal payments in education, integrity and accountability of teacher behavior and management, and corruption risks in the procurement of textbooks and school meals. It encouraged participants to reflect on the usefulness of the Bangladeshi Code for civil servants to improve teacher behavior; but also on how to make ICT tools more effective; or how to generalize integrity pledges in education.

Future concrete actions were recommended as a follow-up, e.g.:

  • Raising awareness of the Right to Information (RTI)
  • Disclosing information regarding stipends and textbooks
  • Improving the audit of the teacher recruitment process
  • Pushing for the introduction of e-procurement
  • Further developing citizen charters within the education sector

This kind of cross-sectoral workshop could be repeated to continue to explore lessons learned, and to create synergies between different actors towards a more systematic integration of a transparency and accountability agenda?