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Corruption taints the education of children across the Asia Pacific region and must be stopped

Across the Asia Pacific region, the ability of children to receive a proper education is damaged through corruption. From the buying of school materials and the school procurement process, to the abuse of power inside the classroom, the inability to access education must be addressed quickly, Transparency International said today.

Using the recently released Global Corruption Report: Education, Transparency International has created a new report summarizing corruption in education in the region. Taking practical steps to prevent the abuse of power, bribery and secret dealings from corroding the educational experience is particularly important not only to keep kids in school and meet literacy and development goals.

Transparency International calls on governments, international organisations, businesses and civil society within and outside the region to ensure good governance is promoted in education policy.

“Access to education, corruption in procurement and shadow education are problems throughout the region that create a bleak picture of the education sector. Its overall impact threatens the fight against poverty and equality across the region. It is time for us to collectively explore avenues in closing doors for corruption,” said Srirak Plipat, Director of the Asia Pacific Region of Transparency International. “With the largest proportion of young people in the world living in the Asia Pacific region, it holds great potential in efforts to stop corruption and to set an example for the rest of the world.”

The implementation of anti-corruption basics such as access to information on education policy, codes of conduct for educators, parent and student participation in governance, and clear systems of oversight and accountability across the education spectrum would ensure that every cent spent on teaching our children ends up where it should: building schools, paying teachers and buying textbooks.

However, corruption has undermined the reputation of the education sector in many countries across the region. The Global Corruption Report: Education sheds light on the many shapes and forms of corrupt practices including ghost schools in Pakistan, illicit and hidden fees in Vanuatu, influence peddling or paying bribes in Vietnam, teacher absenteeism in India, shadow education in Japan, South Korea or Singapore and corruption in higher education in China.

It also shows that in all cases corruption in education acts as a dangerous barrier to high-quality learning and social and economic development. It jeopardises the academic benefits of universities and may even lead to the reputational collapse of a country’s entire higher education system.

In assessing the way forward, the Global Corruption Report: Education highlights new approaches to arresting corruption in education. The report includes:

  • global trends in corruption in education including the Asia Pacific region
  • understanding the scale of corruption in school education
  • transparency and integrity in higher education
  • innovative approaches to tackling corruption in education
  • the role of education in strengthening personal and professional integrity

To prevent corruption from becoming commonplace, promoting integrity among young people is critical to building a better future. From South Asia to the Pacific, many of Transparency International’s chapters in region have shown that developing wide-ranging programmes that integrate anti-corruption initiatives in school curricula and classroom activities can put an end to corruption.

The Global Corruption Report: Education can be viewed online at A summary paper on the Asia Pacific Region can view online at

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Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption

Note to editors

The Global Corruption Report is a regular series from Transparency International that highlights corruption in important sectors of society and suggests ways to stop it. The last Global Corruption Report analysed climate change and was published in 2011. The next Global Corruption Report will focus on sports.

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