Webinar on the fight against corruption in education in Uzbekistan

On February 17, as part of the Avloniy Webinar Series, IIEP Programme Specialist, Ms Muriel Poisson was invited to facilitate a webinar on corruption mitigation in the Uzbek education system. It was attended by over 230 school principals, teachers, administrative staff and other education stakeholders from around the country.

The session constituted an important follow-up to the National Conference on “Higher Education: An Area Free of Corruption” and the training seminar on “Integrity, ethics, and anti-corruption measures in higher education”, both held as part of the Road Map to fight Against Corruption in Higher Education and in the context of the implementation of the “Corruption-Free Industry Project”. Ms Poisson, Pierre Chapelet, UNESCO Programme Specialist at Division of Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, and Bakhtiyor Namazov, UNESCO Programme Specialist at UNESCO Tashkent Office, were invited to further support the sensitization process in Uzbekistan by sharing their expertise in the Webinar on “Fighting against corruption in education: What the international experience tells us”. The session was organized by the UNESCO Tashkent Office and USAID and moderated by John Tully, Global Education Expert, Delivery Associates.

The main objectives of this event were: 

  1. to present illustrative examples of corrupt practices in the education sector
  2. to analyse three examples of successful strategies to improve transparency and accountability at the school level
  3. to discuss possible lessons for Uzbekistan, drawing from international experience.

Participants heard about anti-corruption strategies such as the publication of school budgets as part of school report card initiatives to reduce leakage of funds, teacher codes of conduct to address problematic teacher behaviour, and the use of blockchains and similar technology to verify official documents and prevent fraud.

Members of the audience were particularly interested in discussing practical issues such as “When is it acceptable to accept a gift and when does it become a bribe?” To aid this dialogue and guide follow-up actions from the webinar, Ms Poisson reemphasized the positive experience other countries have had using teacher codes of conduct as a tool to help teachers draw the line between acceptable and corrupt behaviour (see this interactive map for specific country examples of teacher codes of conduct).

Going forward, two additional priority areas for the fight against corruption at the school level in Uzbekistan were identified:

  1. community engagement through open school data and information sharing as a means to curb malpractices; and
  2. quantitative service delivery surveys to determine the time actually spent by teachers on teaching.

IIEP’s collection of tools and resources on these and many other issues to help education stakeholders in the fight against corruption in education are available on the ETICO platform, and summarised in IIEP’s synthesis book “Corrupt schools, corrupt universities: What can be done?