U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


Please provide an overview of corruption in Laos with a focus on the education sector. What anti-corruption measures are in place at national level, and are there any transparency and accountability initiatives specific to the education sector?


The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) is amongst the fastest growing economies in the world, but corruption remains a widespread problem. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) classifies Laos as the second most corrupt country in the Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN). Controlling corruption, however, is a challenge given party control has curtailed institutional independence between the judiciary, government and bureaucracy, which has served to entrench the party’s power and control of resources. Despite recent increases in spending on education, the government has failed to ensure inclusiveness, and the quality of teaching and learning outcomes remain low partly due to corrupt practices such as nepotism, cronyism and political patronage.


  1. Overview of corruption in Laos
  2. Corruption in the education sector in Laos
  3. Overview of anti-corruption in Laos
  4. References

Main points

  • Corruption continues to plague the Laos economy and serve as a considerable impediment to the country’s social and economic development at all levels.
  • The government of Lao PDR recognises education’s importance in achieving national development goals. Yet, challenges remain in enhancing equity and improving learning outcomes (Global Partnership for Education 2019).
  • Corruption in the education sector in Lao PDR can take different forms, from bribery to nepotism in the tertiary sector.
  • Over the last two years, there has been a pronounced change in rhetoric and, perhaps, some progress in practice. Public disapproval and international pressure may be behind these changes.


Laila Martin Garcia, [email protected]


Roberto Martínez B. Kukutschka, Transparency International, Monica Kirya, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre




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