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The education of our children cannot succeed when corruption taints our schools and universities

Transparency International in a new report shows how stepping up the fight against corruption in education is necessary not only to keep kids in school and meet literacy and development goals, but also to ensure that the next generation is prepared to say no to corruption.

The Global Corruption Report: Education details numerous practical steps to prevent the abuse of power, bribery and secret dealings from corroding the educational experience. It calls on governments, international organisations, businesses and civil society to ensure good governance is promoted in education policy all over the world.

“For schools to educate the corruption fighters of tomorrow they need to be free from corruption themselves. Without a strong dose of integrity, our schools and universities will fail to provide future leaders with the basic tools needed to succeed, and more importantly, to combat graft,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “With nearly a fifth of the world’s population between 15 and 24 years old, young people have the potential to stop corruption both as the citizens of today and as the leaders of tomorrow.”

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 dollar, peso or rupee 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. Almost one in five people worldwide paid bribes to education services last year, according to Transparency International’s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer. In the world’s poorest countries the number rises to one in three.

The Global Corruption Report: Education sheds light on the many shapes and forms of corrupt practices in education, be they the embezzlement of national education funds, hidden school costs or the buying and selling of fake degrees.

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 442-page book is broken into five sections of analysis and recommendations from over 70 experts in more than 50 countries. They include:

  • global trends in corruption in education
  • 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 Chile to Morocco to Thailand, many of Transparency International’s chapters have proven that developing wide-ranging programmes that integrate anti-corruption initiatives in school curricula and classroom activities are vital to ending corruption in education.

The Global Corruption Report: Education can be viewed online at A launch event will be held in Budapest, Hungary, followed by events in dozens of countries around the world.

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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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