Corruption and fraud in schools and universities worldwide is costing billions of dollars and compromising the future of youth, a report released by UNESCO in Paris says.
In some countries, up to 80 percent of funds earmarked for education, excluding salaries, are funnelled by corrupt officials, according to the report titled: ‘Corrupt schools, corrupt universities: What can be done.’
The study quoted surveys showing that ghost teachers on school payrolls represent five percent of expenditures for salaries in Honduras and 15 percent in Papua New Guinea.
Corruption in higher education takes the form of bogus degrees, accreditation fraud and fake universities, according to the report that was published on Wednesday.
The number of fake universities on the Internet offering bogus degrees has increased from 200 to 800 between 2000 and 2004, according to the report.
‘Such widespread corruption not only costs societies billions of dollars, it also seriously undermines the vital effort to provide education for all,’ said Koichiro Matsuura, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
‘It prevents poorer parents from sending their children to school, robs schools and pupils of equipment, lowers teaching standards an thus education standards generally, and comprises the future of our youth.’
Bribe-taking is singled out as a particular problem that is tolerated in many countries, including Cambodia where the government has tacitly acknowledged that it could not keep its teachers and professors without the payments.
In Ukraine, officials from the country’s 175 private universities revealed in 2005 that obtaining a licence or accreditation from authorities required some form of bribery.
In Nicaragua, 73 percent of those surveyed paid school fees and 86 percent of those paid additional money to the teachers.
Examples of corruption in Poland included ordering school supplies from ‘friendly’ companies, bribes accepted for better grades or for enrolling a child in a school.
To combat corruption in education, UNESCO recommended improving the management and monitoring of education funds and cited successful drives to audit spending.
Jacques Hallak and Muriel Poisson, the report’s authors, argued that political will at the highest levels of government was essential to free education systems from corruption.
They cited Uganda as a success story in stamping out corruption in schools.
In the early 1990s, only 13 percent of the annual amount granted per student actually got to schools in Uganda, the remainder captured by corrupt local officials.
As a result of a national campaign to inform local communities about where the funds were going, some 85 percent of the allocated funds now reach their rightful destinations.
Last Mod: 08 Haziran 2007, 14:15