Standards and guidelines

Corruption in the education sector is presented by many education advocates as a direct failure to uphold international law as international conventions like the Universal Declaration for Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and International Covenant on Economic and Social and Cultural Rights uphold the human right to free, compulsory and egalitarian primary education. This rights-based approach to viewing corruption in the education sector is by no means a standard or guideline to addressing corruption in the education sector, but provides the basis for international commitments and standards.  

UNESCO Commitments: Education for All.  

The Education for All movement started in 1990 as a coalition of 164 governments who have pledged to address the deficiencies of primary education systems worldwide by identifying six goals and developing a framework to address the goals. The framework, labelled the Dakar Framework for Action, identifies corruption as a major obstacle to improving education and recommends that governments in the coalition take strong action to detect and address corruption in primary education. The commitments within the framework are monitored through the UNESCO Institute for Statistics which releases annual reports on the successes and failures in meeting commitments.  

UNESCO/OECD Guidelines for Quality Provision in Cross-Border Higher Education.  

Cross-border higher education broadly refers to the movement of people, knowledge, programmes, providers and curricula across national or regional jurisdictional borders, offering learners new opportunities, increased access to higher education, improvement of international cooperation and innovations in higher education systems. These guidelines were established to enhance the quality provision in cross-border higher education and to establish an international framework of cooperation to maintain and assure quality in higher education. The guidelines are directed towards governments (through their respective education ministries) and to institutions dedicated to tertiary education. The guidelines aim to establish a transparent and fair system of internationally recognised accreditation and create a space for international cooperation for improving education and establish a framework for cooperation in addressing issues like certification/qualification fraud linked to higher education.  

UNESCO and CHEA. 2016. Advisory Statement for Effective International Practice: Combatting Corruption and Enhancing Integrity: A Contemporary Challenge for the Quality and Credibility of Higher Education.  

This advisory statement on combatting corruption in higher education has been issued by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation/International Quality Group (CIQG) and the International Institute for Educational Planning of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IIEP-UNESCO).The statement highlights problems posed by academic corruption in higher education and suggests ways that quality assurance bodies, government and higher education institutions around the world can combat corruption.


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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