Skip to main content

Working Paper 04/2009: Corruption in the Education Sector

All parents hope for a good education for their children. It is the key to the next generation’s future, particularly for the poor. It equips young citizens with the knowledge and skills to thrive in their country's economy and to participate fully in society. It is a cornerstone of economic and social development, a human right under international law and a constitutional guarantee in most countries.But in reality education is often characterised by poor quality and unequal access. For example, a region-wide survey of Africa’s education system showed more than 50 percent of respondents signalling numerous challenges to getting a basic education. Classroom overcrowding, poorly maintained primary schools, absent teachers, lack of textbooks and supplies, and unacceptably high fees and expenses were just some of the problems cited. When it comes to higher education, access in many countries depends more on the parents' purse and social status than the talent, effort and merit of the student. Unfortunately, corruption tends to be one of the principal reasons behind all of these problems.