Policy formulation

At the policy stage, undue influence by interest groups can skew the allocation of resources and the formulation of laws and regulations, leading to administrative bribery, political corruption and policy capture.  

One interesting consideration is how exerting undue influence both on bodies in charge of accreditation and licensing of education providers[1] as well as the education providers themselves can have a significant effect not only on the quality but also the content of programmes. It can affect the development of curricula, which specify what is to be taught, determine the number of teaching hours per subject and the method of instruction. Academic curricula can be captured by political parties seeking to present their agenda in the most positive light to influence students’ political views and influence the teaching norms both in pre-university and university education. Such political manipulation often relies on internal administrative or economic pressures on the schools and universities.[2] Contentious choices about how to teach subjects are often clearly affiliated with specific political parties’ agendas, as is the case when it comes to teaching history in India,[3] or creationism in the United States.[4]

Education can also be politicised by either substituting merit-based criteria in the selection, retention, promotion and disciplining of public service members with political criteria, or by filling the most senior positions with political loyalists who are experts in their fields. Both ensure permanent allegiance and a stable political influence on all matters for those in power.[5] In Armenia, educators have frequently been abused as an administrative resource, for example, by participating in campaign events during school time, which is another indicator of how the education sector can be politicised.[6]

However, partisan influences can also be subtler and go beyond party-political agendas to encompass ideology in a broader sense. In recent years, for instance, economic students from around the world have formed organisations such as the International Student Initiative for Pluralism in Economics and the Post-Crash Economics Society.[7] They contend that university economics courses are dominated by an “intellectual monoculture” backed by a system of state-funding which operates in a highly biased fashion in favour of rational choice models which are at the heart of free market ideology.[8]

Businesses might also want to exert influence in different ways. For example, they might want to influence curricula to highlight the benefits of their business, to show opponents or competitors in a bad light, or simply to hide facts related to their industry (for example, a hydrocarbon producer may want to omit topics related to climate change in science classes). These types of corruption may have a profound effect in shaping public opinion related to important subjects that require impartial analysis.



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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