Challenges to tackling corruption in education

Corruption in the education sector is difficult to address due to the general complexity of a country's education system, often characterised by a complex web of administrative layers on top of the general three tier education system. Adding to this complexity, several countries permit a multi-tier system of education where public and private funds and facilities interlace with different degrees of autonomy and independence.  

Programmes linked to the education system, such as school meals and transport for younger students, add further complexity to the education sector, multiplying companies, agencies and institutions involved in service delivery.  

Decentralisation adds an additional layer of complexity. One the one hand it has given local authorities, school boards and schools more freedom to respond to challenges and local demands. At the same time, this has added new layers and actors to the system whose relationships need to be negotiated, which can give more room for misconduct.[1]

These complexities create an administrative labyrinth that makes monitoring and accountability mechanisms more difficult to implement. In addition, it is difficult and sometimes contentious to assess the quality of education systems and services. Test scores, grade averages, and other academic assessments are frequently criticised over their ability to assess an element as complex as “learning”[2] and many standardised tests can be forged or results falsified to hide actual test scores, casting doubt over the trustworthiness of such approaches to assess and monitor the quality of education services. Data on school and teacher evaluations is often not available in many countries, and the quality of data available on funding streams is very low. This makes evaluations even more challenging.  



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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