Mapping of risks

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.

What happens when corruption affects education?

Corruption reduces access to education – from pre-school to university. It creates low-quality learning environments, where the poor suffer the most, and undermines our collective welfare. It erodes the foundation of quality education for all.

Corruption  in  the  education  sector  can  be defined as  “the  systematic  use  of  public office for  private benefit,  whose  impact  is significant on the  availability  and  quality  of  educational  goods  and  services,  and,  as  a  consequence on access, quality or equity in education” (Hallak and Poisson, 2002)

Typology of opportunities of corruption in education

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

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 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 the ETICO Page on Publications). More recently, IIEP launched work on teacher codes of conduct and transparency in the targeting and management of pro-poor incentives.

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