Our work on education

Filed under - Education

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What’s at stake?

When it comes to education, what’s at stake is obvious: our future. When corruption prevents young people from exercising their fundamental right to attend school and receive an education, people lose out on their potential and society suffers. Identifying and eliminating corruption in the education sector is key to ensuring that learning opportunities remain accessible to all.  

What we’re doing about it

Our global movement takes the challenge of corruption in education seriously. Our national chapters have undertaken a wide range of initiatives to fight corruption in all levels of education. These efforts are driven by research and an emphasis on practical approaches to reducing corruption in the field of education. We also promote the importance of including anti-corruption materials in educational curricula.

Who’s involved

Over 30 of our chapters work on corruption in education, from national and local assessments and policy recommendations, to advocacy campaigns and tools to teach integrity and anti-corruption in schools and higher education institutions.

Our secretariat also coordinates multi-country projects on education. We also work with key NGOs, international stakeholders and academic institutions in carrying our policy recommendations forward.   

Our approach

Our national chapters have undertaken a wide range of initiatives to fight corruption in all levels of education.

Resource management is particularly susceptible to corruption. Transparency Rwanda and Sierra Leone’s National Accountability Group have undertaken Public Expenditure Tracking surveys (PETs) to improve transparency in education finance. Our chapter in Liberia leads a five-organisation coalition to monitor procurement of contracts in the education sector, while our Argentine chapter brokered an agreement (or Integrity Pact) between the Ministry of Education and textbook providers to ensure that the procurement of over three million textbooks was corruption-free.

Preventing corruption in service provision is also central to our work. Our chapter in Zimbabwe is developing training material for the Ministry and school officials. Our Mexican chapter and the Ministry of Education initiated a School Management System, which makes information on secondary schools in Mexico accessible. Other programmes include a survey to assess the situation of absenteeism in rural schools in Cameroon and the issuing of false teacher diplomas in Niger. Our Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres are also active in taking up nepotism in education cases in Nepal and elsewhere. 

National chapters also work on corruption in higher education. Recent examples include surveys of over 100 educational institutions by Transparency Kazakhstan conducted to identify corruption risks in accessing higher education. Our Ukrainian chapter tested the integrity of university admissions, resulting in national reform of admission rules, and our chapter in Bosnia and Herzegovina is facilitating integrity plans with universities.

In addition to addressing existing corruption, chapters are facilitating anti-corruption education to teach students about the negative effects of corruption. Our chapter in Italy started a theatre project for secondary school students, and Transparency Thailand is promoting its “Growing Good Campaign” curriculum. Chile Transparente has successfully implemented a teaching module through instructional games to promote integrity in 1,500 public schools. Similarly, our Pakistan chapter’s “Child’s View of Corruption” uses seminars, lectures, art and debates to teach youth about corruption in education.

We also conduct multi-country activities on education. In 2009 the Africa Education Watch project surveyed 8,500 local stakeholders in seven countries to assess whether new decentralised management systems are effective in controlling corruption and increasing accountability to constituents. The Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Africa (TISDA) supported civil society in seven African countries in working with citizens to demand greater transparency, integrity and accountability in the management of resources for basic services in primary education, the health sector and the water sector. The first two reports on primary education, covering South Africa and Cameroon, were published in July 2011.

Transparency International’s extensive work on education will be compiled in the forthcoming Global Corruption Report on Education (GCR), which will also include more than 50 articles by external experts from civil society, business, academia and international organisations. The GCR – forthcoming in February 2013 – will advance our understanding of the dynamics of corruption in the sector and focus on providing practical and innovative solutions to the problem.  

Timeline and results


Contact us

Gareth Sweeney, Editor-in-Chief, Global Corruption Report

See also

Country / Territory - International   
Region - Global   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Education   |   Human rights   
Tags - Schools   |   Primary schools   |   Schools governing bodies   |   Universities   |   Education administration   |   Classroom   |   Anti-corruption education   

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