Stealing the future: corruption in the classroom. Ten real world experiences

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Stealing the Future - Corruption in the Classroom presents 10 studies carried out by national chapters in Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Georgia, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Sierra Leone and Zambia. The studies assess the extent of corruption in schools, universities and education administration, providing examples of how civil society can help curb corrupt practices


<ul><li><p>Stealing the FutureCorruption in the Classroom</p><p>Ten Real World Experiences</p></li><li><p>Title Page: Photo: Anissa ThompsonBack Cover: Hazel Arguello Valverde</p></li><li><p>Ten Real World Experiences</p><p>Stealing the FutureCorruption in the Classroom</p></li><li><p>2 | C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E</p><p>Copyright 2005 by Transparency InternationalAll rights reserved</p><p>Stealing the Future: Corruption in the Classroom can be reproduced, in partor in its entirety, only with the due acknowledgement of Transparency Inter-national and the author of the respective text. </p><p>Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information containedin this booklet. The authors are responsible for the accuracy and completenessof the content of their texts. Transparency International does not accept re-sponsibility for the consequences of the use of this booklet in other contextsor for other purposes. </p><p>Edited by Bettina Meier and Michael Griffin</p><p>Transparency InternationalAlt Moabit 9610559 BerlinGermany</p><p>This publication was made possible with the support of the German Ministryfor Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ).</p></li><li><p>T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S | 3</p><p>Table of Contents</p><p>Foreword Muriel Poisson and Jacques Hallak</p><p>Corruption in Education: An Introduction Bettina Meier</p><p>ArgentinaProcurement: A Textbook Case 16</p><p>Bosnia and HerzegovinaA Copy-and-Paste Approach to University Success 24</p><p>BrazilThe Hidden Cost of Decentralised Education 31</p><p>GeorgiaA New Beginning for Georgias University Admissions 36</p><p>MexicoThe Price of a Place in School 44</p><p>NepalMissing the Target on Child Labour 50</p><p>NicaraguaBuilding Better Schools 57</p><p>NigerCorruption in Higher Education: Peoples Perceptions 62</p><p>Sierra LeoneExpenditure Tracking: Detecting Leakages at Primary Schools 70</p><p>ZambiaLocal Administration: A Recipe for Success? 77</p><p>Contact Details of Contributors 84</p></li><li><p>4 | A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S</p><p>AcknowledgementsI would like to thank the many individuals who have helped develop this booklet, above all the authors of the reports. I am grateful to Hazel Mowbrayfor helping to prepare this publication and to Cobus de Swardt for his helpfulcomments. Thanks are also due to regional programme staff at the TI Secre-tariat for their support. </p><p>Translations have been provided by Michele Bantz, Patricia Brutus and Yani-na Vega many thanks indeed! A special thank you goes to Milli Lake for herdedication and commitment to this publication, and her patience and goodhumour. Finally, thanks to Michael Griffin for editing the texts.</p><p>The illustrations on pages 21, 32, 46, 48, 61 and on the back cover derive froma drawing contest for youth in Nicaragua, organised by Deutsche Gesellschaftfr Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) in February 2004. Thanks for allowingus to use them. </p><p>Bettina MeierTI SecretariatEducation Programme </p><p>Stealing the Future: Corruption in the Classroom is available as pdf documenton the TI website at</p><p>Please send feedback and comments to</p></li><li><p>F O R E W O R D | 5</p><p>ForewordThe likelihood of achieving the Education for All goals1 has never been as gre-at as it is today: the international community is committed to attaining accessto primary education for all children by 2015 and international aid for edu-cation is on the increase. At the same time, however, there is a shared viewamong educational stakeholders that these goals may never be reached ontime, primarily because of the lack of instruments to curb corrupt practices inthe education sector. Indeed, in a context of decentralisation, diversification,privatisation and globalisation of educational services, ensuring that fundsallocated to education contribute effectively to achieving the goals set is a keyconcern. </p><p>The work presented in this report, which was undertaken by 10 TransparencyInternational national chapters from across the globe, represents a valuableattempt at addressing this concern. It presents first-hand information on op-portunities for corruption in different education systems, and documents pro-mising approaches for reducing such opportunities in a variety of domains,including financing, textbook production, scholarships and examinations.Some of the issues discussed, such as procurements, are of relevance to thewhole public sector. Others, such as academic fraud, are more specific to edu-cation. All of them, however, plead for more transparency and accountabilityin the management of educational resources.</p><p>The conclusions to be drawn from these studies are fully in line with workconducted worldwide on similar topics particularly, within the framework ofthe international programme on Ethics and corruption in education develo-ped by the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP). The crucialrole, for instance, played by teachers behaviour both in directly reducingcorrupt practices within the education sector and doing so indirectly, by pro-moting ethical values is confirmed by other studies.2</p><p>The role that civil society organisations can play in this context is three-fold.First, due to their proximity to local communities and their exposure to school-level developments, they can provide information and provoke </p><p>1 At the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, 180 countries committed themselves to pro-viding quality education for all the worlds children by 2015. The UN Millennium Summit inNew York (2000) endorsed the achievement of universal primary education by 2015 as thesecond Millennium Development Goal.</p><p>2 For more information on IIEPs project Ethics and Corruption in Education, please go to A list of studies produced by theproject can be found at</p></li><li><p>6 | F O R E W O R D</p><p>discussion on sensitive issues such as corruption. Second, thanks to the activist role they adopt, they have a powerful influence on a variety of stake-holders (pupils, parents, teachers, local authorities, decision-makers), contri-buting significantly to raising awareness. They are agents of change, increa-sing transparency in the daily routines of educational systems and helping todevelop and deploy appropriate monitoring mechanisms. Third, through theirwider network, they can serve as a bridge between users of educational servi-ces and public authorities so as to facilitate access to information, ensuringtransparency in educational management and financing, and preventing mal-practice.</p><p>For all these reasons, we welcome the work conducted through TransparencyInternationals network and hope that its results will contribute to improvingtransparency and accountability in education and therefore to reaching theEducation for All goals.</p><p>Jacques Hallak and Muriel PoissonInternational Institute for Educational Planning</p></li><li><p>I N T R O D U C T I O N | 7</p><p>Corruption in Education: An IntroductionCorruption in education is a major drain on development</p><p>and should be drastically curbedWorld Education Forum: Dakar Framework of Action (2000)</p><p>Education is a human right. For people, it may often be the only way to es-cape a life of poverty; for nations, it is crucial to development and growth.Education ideally transmits values such as integrity, equality and social jus-tice, and the sense of shared responsibility that is key to social cohesion andgood governance.</p><p>Corruption in education can have a devastating effect on a countrys well be-ing. Its costs - illegal fees and bribes for admission, examination or tuition are a heavy burden for poor parents. Corruption in the procurement of text-books or new school buildings is a strain on the education budget and deprivesstudents of the materials and learning environment they need. Corruption inteacher appointment and promotion impacts on the quality of teaching, al-lowing less qualified and possibly unfit teachers and administrators to reachpositions they do not merit. Students who manage to proceed with their edu-cation, despite these disadvantages, may be poorly skilled and thus add lessvalue to the economy and public sector during their professional life. </p><p>Perhaps the highest cost of corruption in education is loss of trust. If people(especially the young) come to believe that school or university admission andmarks can be bought, a countrys economic and political future is in jeopardy.The education sector rightfully is expected to be fair and impartial. Schoolshould transmit concepts of political representation, human rights, solidarityand the public good. Corrupt practices at schools and universities directly con-tradict these concepts, destroying the trust that is necessary to the develop-ment of communities. </p><p>Examples of corruption in educationEducation is often the only way a family can escape a life of poverty andachieve social advancement, so parents naturally want their children to suc-ceed at school. This leaves plenty of scope for abuse by teachers and officials.The most common forms of corruption in education are: </p></li><li><p>8 | I N T R O D U C T I O N</p><p> Parents may be recommended to buy a book or teaching aid that theirchilds present or future teacher has written</p><p> Parents may be advised to pay for private tuition in which the teacher,after official school hours, teaches their child the essentials of the cur-riculum </p><p> Parents may be asked to contribute voluntary donations for school in-frastructure or extra-curricular activities. Failure to do so might resultfor example in schools withholding students records or report cards. </p><p>Since achieving Education for All (EFA) has been determined as key to devel-opment it forms part of the UNs Millennium Development Goals - schoolfees are increasingly being removed from basic education. However, fees arenot the only cost that parents have to shoulder. Others include school uni-forms, contributions for teaching materials, roofing and textbooks etc., or evencontributions to salaries and running costs. In extremely under-funded envi-ronments, school children may be exploited as unpaid labour to compensatefor teachers or administrators meagre income, or as a direct contribution tothe schools budget.2</p><p>But it is not only students and parents who suffer from corruption in educa-tion. Corruption in the appointment, promotion and transfer of teachers is awidespread reality in countries where bad teaching conditions prevail. Posi-tions in isolated, rural areas are not popular. Without checks and balances, andgiven the high discretion of officials, there is plenty of scope for abuse. Bribes</p><p>1 ITAR TASS, 26 October 2004.2 The World Banks Voices of the Poor (2000), a participatory research collecting the opin-</p><p>ions of 60,000 poor people around the world, gives some frightening examples of corruptionin education and its impact. For further information, go to</p><p>The Economic Crimes Unit of Russias Interior Ministry reported in Octo-ber 2004 that 900 criminal cases had been opened since the beginning ofthe year concerning bribery in education. Many students, fearing expul-sion, remain silent about the extortion by teachers, one official said. Some150 criminal cases had been opened against heads of educational institu-tions and officials, including five members of examination boards, threeofficials from regional education bodies, 10 rectors and deans, 22 profes-sors and assistant professors, and 110 directors and heads of departments.In all, law-enforcement bodies exposed almost 3,500 crimes and institut-ed 2,500 criminal proceedings, including 878 cases of the theft or misuseof budget and 58 cases of commercial bribery.1</p></li><li><p>I N T R O D U C T I O N | 9</p><p>and kickbacks maybe required from aspiring teachers to secure placements,transfers or promotions.</p><p>Teachers also suffer from low or delayed salaries that, in turn, can be a resultof corruption at higher levels. Inadequate salaries or late payment have a de-moralising effect on teachers, forcing them to do other jobs to make ends meet.The impact on the quality of education they should provide is obvious. </p><p>Teachers can be targets of political intervention. Education employs a largenumber of civil servants and teachers, who have daily access to a great num-ber of citizens. At election time, it is teachers who are tasked with voter edu-cation and ballot counting. To secure their services, politicians may interferein teachers employment, promotion or transfer. </p><p>Corruption also occurs at university level where its consequences are particu-larly damaging since future economic and political leaders are trained there.Falsified diplomas are becoming an increasing concern. Corruption in the li-censing of higher education institutions betrays peoples faith in educationand leaves students with worthless diplomas. Another worrying trend is thedependency of universities on corporate funding, resulting in conflicts of in-terest for scholars and jeopardising the independence of their research.</p><p>In August 2001, a school in the village of Fang Lin in Jiangxi province inChina was destroyed in an explosion. Witnesses said children as youngas eight were forced to assemble firecrackers for local factories in theirclassrooms. At least 37 pupils and four teachers were killed in the blast....Some witnesses put the death toll at about 60. Nearly all the victims arebelieved to have been young children. The school in Fang Lin village waspacked with about 200 pupils and teachers when the blast ripped throughthe two-storey building, destroying four classrooms. A doctor who rushedto the scene said the pupils had been putting fuses into firecrackers at thetime of the explosion. The website of the state-run Nanfang Daily said lo-cal firework factories had been using primary schools to make firecrack-ers since 1998. It said the teachers had received a share of the profits.3</p><p>3 BBC News, 7 March 2001. See</p></li><li><p>4 P. Mauro, The Effects of Corruption on Growth, Investment, and Government Expenditure:A Cross-Country Analysis, in Kimberly Ann Elliot, ed. Corruption and the Global Economy(Washington D.C.: Institute for International Economics, 1997)</p><p>5 BBC News, 22 March 2005. See</p><p>10 | I N T R O D U C T I O N</p><p>Corruption exists within ministries and at lower levels of administration. It candistort budget allocation to the detriment of education. Countries with highcorruption tend to invest less in public services, leaving the education sectorunder-resourced.4 Insufficient resources may be budgeted as a result of badplanning or resources may disappear on their way to schools. Education con-sumes a significant part of the national budget as much as 25-30% in someAfrican countries - and therefore is a potential avenue for corruption. </p><p>Procurement contracts for school building or maintenance, textbooks, teach-ing materials or feeding schemes provide ample opportunities for collusion be-tween public officials and suppliers. Kickbacks to officials who award con-tracts are a common form o...</p></li></ul>