Background studies

Transparency International. 2013. Global Corruption Report: Education.  

The Global Corruption Report provides an in-depth look at corruption issues surrounding education. This report provides a comprehensive assessment of the current context in which corruption in the education sector is situated and the conditions that determine the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts. The report is structured to follow the evolution of an education system. It begins with an overview of relevant norms, legal and regulatory frameworks, and presents key stakeholders that collectively shape education systems. It then assesses corruption risks at the source of financing education and follows a chronology of the construction and supply of goods, staff appointment and retention, access to education, school management and corruption in the classroom. Then the report looks at how corruption can undermine each stage of the higher education experience. The report presents established diagnostic tools for measuring corruption in education and tailored approaches for dealing with specific forms of corruption, including, for example, the value of university governance rankings, public expenditure tracking, teacher codes of conduct, new incentives for parent participation in school management, human rights-based approaches, legal redress mechanisms and the use of new media.  

Victoria Turrent. 2009. Confronting Corruption in Education: Advancing Accountable Practices through Budget Monitoring.  U4 Brief.  

Education budget work conducted by civil society is a powerful way of holding governments accountable to their citizens, and drawing attention to corruption in the education systems. This brief discusses the relevance of civil society budget work for anti-corruption initiatives, focusing on the experience of the Commonwealth Education Fund, in which budget monitoring is employed as an anti-corruption tool in the education sector. It presents its strengths and limitations – arguing for increased access to budget information and greater civil society participation in such processes.  

Leo Hamminger. 2008. The Power of Data: Enhancing Transparency in the Education Sector in Sierra Leone. U4 Brief. 

This case study explores the introduction of an EMIS in Sierra Leone as a tool to highlight malpractices related to local record keeping, teacher salaries, building new schools and educational indicators. After outlining the potential benefits of EMIS, it describes the process and challenges of introducing such a tool in a post-conflict setting. It concludes that return on investment of such a system is excellent. If linked with an intervention for a sustained improvement of the school inspectorate, it could result in significant savings due to better use of resources and more efficient distribution of textbooks and teaching and learning materials. However, to ensure the success of the initiative in the longer term, the ministry of education needs to take full ownership after the initial donor-supported phase.  

Stephen P. Heyneman, Kathryn H. Anderson and Nazyn Nuraliyeva. 2008. The Cost of Corruption in Higher Education.  

This article looks at the manifestations and effects of corruption in higher education (tertiary education). This article assesses the extent of higher education corruption based on surveys of university students in six countries – the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Moldova, Serbia and Bulgaria. These surveys suggest that corruption (in the form of bribes for entry, grades or graduation and so on) varies in accordance with the market demand for the subject of study, with higher levels of corruption found for the subjects in highest demand (for example, law, economics, finance and criminology). 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.  

U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre. 2006. Corruption in the Education Sector.  

This article provides a comprehensive while synthetic overview of corruption in the education sector. The U4 paper begins by providing a description of education sector corruption, its causes, its effects and how it can be tackled. The paper then goes into more depth on salaries, corruption in education sector procurement, budget transparency and formula funding – an agreed rule for allocating resources to schools specifying the quantum of finance that each school can spend. The article ends with a literature review, which outlines the most important academic works on corruption and anti-corruption in the education sector until 2006.  

Ritva Reinikka and Jakob Svensson. 2004. The Power of Information: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign to Reduce Capture.  

This paper evaluates the effects of increased public access to information as a tool to reduce capture and corruption of public funds. In the late 1990s, the Ugandan government initiated a newspaper campaign to boost schools’ and parents’ ability to monitor local officials’ handling of a large school-grant programme. The results were striking: capture was reduced from 80 per cent in 1995 to less than 20 per cent in 2001. The authors find that proximity to a newspaper outlet is positively correlated with the head teachers’ knowledge about rules governing the grant programme and the timing of releases of funds from the centre.  

David Chapman. 2002. Corruption and the Education Sector. Washington D.C.: USAID, 2002.  

This paper discusses the factors fuelling corruption in national education systems. It describes the forms that corruption takes within the education sector and interventions that have been suggested for reducing corruption. The author argues that petty or small-scale corruption is more common that grand or large-scale corruption in the education sector, and emphasises specific vulnerabilities at the point of service delivery. The author argues that bribery, favouritism and fraud over merit can have profound effects on societies in the long term. The article details the challenges for donors seeking to invest in education and provides a series of examples of anti-corruption efforts in education.  

Sanjeev Gupta, Hamid Davoodi, and Erwin Tiongson. 2000. Corruption and the Provision of Healthcare and Education Services.  

This article reviews the theoretical models and users’ perceptions of corruption in the provision of public services and analyses the impact of corruption on those services in terms of cost and human development outcomes. Using cross-country data sets, the authors find that corruption has adverse consequences for a country’s child and infant mortality rates, percentage of low-birthweight babies in total births and drop-out rates in primary schools. The authors conclude by examining the implications of their results for social policy formulation.


Iñaki Albisu Ardigó; Marie Chêne


Matthew Jenkins

Contributing experts:

Umrbek Allakulov (Water Integrity Network)

Shaazka Beyerle (US Institute of Peace)

Simone Bloem (Center for Applied Policy)

Claire Grandadam (Water Integrity Network)

Jacques Hallak (Jules Verne University – Amiens)

Mihaylo Milovanovitch (Centre For Applied Policy)

Muriel Poisson (International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO)

Juanita Riano (Inter-American Development Bank)

Marc Y. Tassé (Canadian Centre of Excellence for Anti-Corruption)

Vítězslav Titl (University of Siegen)

Davide Torsello (Central European University Business School)

Patty Zakaria (Royal Roads University)



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