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Prevention of corruption in Higher Education

This article highlights the importance of prevention of corruption in higher education, reduction of in-person contacts in education process, in addition, developed proposals on improvement of legislation on the basis of recommendations of international institutions.

I believe, is absolutely applicable to prevent corruption in higher education sector, as it encompasses wide range of people (participants of education process) together with different kinds and types of corrupt practices, which is of particular nature.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26) says: Everyone has the right to education.... higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, as well as the maintenance of peace[1].

As it goes.... higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit, which is the main focus of this article, that is, corruption in higher education disturbs (bothers) the equal access to higher education. For instance, A student is admitted, or a faculty member is hired/promoted, based only on his/her personal connections and/or family relations. This is called favoritism[2]. Another example is Patronaging: a form of favoritism in which a person is selected, regardless of qualifications or entitlement, for a job or government benefit because of political affiliations or connections.

As it goes, education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this regard, Albina Yun says:
The notion of corruption has quite negative connotations worldwide. Corruption in education is said to have the most damaging consequences due to its long-term effect[3].

It is certain that corrupt university (its members) does not serve for the development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights. In contrast, it discourages the students (all related people) against education and fair society.

When it comes to national legislation, about the right to equal education in tertiary level, the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan is main source of legal basis. According to the Article 41 of the Constitution Everyone shall have the right to education[4].

When it comes to corruption and corrupt act (inaction) in higher education, it has been defined subtly by different scholars. In particular, A. Osipian (professor of Vanderbilt University) considers corruption in higher education as a system of informal relations created to regulate relations in the acquisition of material or intangible assets prohibited by the abuse of state or corporate trust[5].

Professor A.Osipian assesses the concept of corruption risk in higher education as a possibility of corruption in the system and considers it related to the need for extortion and bribery.

A. Bazkhal and T. Galkovskaya (staff of the International Institute for Educational Planning of Ukraine) believe that corruption in higher education is an action that negatively affects the right to education, quality of education and equality in education as a result of abuse of office by a civil servant.[6]

Corruption in higher education includes general features as well as specific field peculiarities. Corruption in higher education is the unlawful use (abuse) of one's position or office for personal material gain or intangible benefits, or present such benefits to others via unlawful act (or omission of act).

Joseph Attiah divides the corruption at Higher Education sector into two:
Administrative corruption (admissions, procurement, leadership influence, recruitment, promotions/appointment) and Academic corruption (academic dishonesty, cheating, leaking exam questions, plagiarism, favoritism etc.)[7]. This is true for the universities in my country as well, and notedly, it is even deeper.

Albina Yun lists the following forms of corruption in higher education:
paying for the final grade; bribes for admission tests and during the actual admission (entrance) examination process; - paying to cover absences; - paying for kursovaya (course or final paper) and diplomnaya rabota (thesis, qualification paper) written by others (commonly by the teachers themselves); - book sales[8].

Elena Denisova-Schmidt states that the forms of corruption in higher education reflects in:
bribery, collusion (secret agreement between parties), conflict of interest, favoritism, nepotism (a form of favoritism based on acquaintances and familiar relationships), fraud, lobbying (any activity carried out to influence a institution's policies and decisions in favor of a specific cause)[9].

According to Joseph Attiah, the corruption in higher education is manifested in the following forms:
corruption in admissions, procurement, leadership influence, recruitment, promotions, academic dishonesty, cheating, leaking exam questions, plagiarism, favoritism, bribery, embezzlement, fraud, nepotism, extortion, greasing palms, gratitude, breach of trust, conflict of interest, kickbacks[10].
1 Admissions 1 Academic dishonesty
2 Management influence 2 Plagiarism
3 Recruitment 3 Cheating
4 Procurement 4 Leaking exam questions
5 Promotions 5 Monitor as a middleman
6 Appointment 6 Paying for papers
7 Conflict of interest 7 Paying for thesis
8 Kickbacks 8 Selling books
9 Embezzlement 9 Paying for fund
10 Fraud
11 Paying to get dormitory
12 Nepotism
13 Extortion
14 Lack of access to administration
15 Compulsory insurance
16 Too expensive canteen
17 Paying to cover internships
18 Paying to cover absences 10 Paying to cover absences
19 Bribery 11 Bribery
20 Gratitude 12 Gratitude
21 Inaction 13 Inaction
22 Favoritism 14 Favoritism

Providing, due to the fact that the higher educational establishment has one (or some) of the forms of corruption prescribed in Table 1, you cannot enjoy your full right to get higher education  equal access to higher education, this means that the rules of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The Constitution of Uzbekistan are not being followed. Which, in turn, leads to discontent among the citizens (students, their relatives, especially parents and etc.) of the country against the state policy on higher education (majority of universities in Uzbekistan are state based  financed by the government).

As a result of corrupt actions by officials or non-officials in the field of higher education, the rights or legally protected interests of citizens or the state or public interests are severely damaged or seriously harmed. In the field of higher education, this primarily affects the quality of education, creating distrust of citizens in the education system (public policy).

As can be seen, there are more corrupt practices in administrative surroundings than academic one. From this it can be concluded that it would be inappropriate to assign the administration as responsible to prevent and oversee the corruption in academic context. So, we need to make a change in the approach in fighting corruption in higher educational institutions.

Not only does the systemic corruption foster an antagonistic relationship between those seeking education and the education system itself, but it also results in inadequate skills development of graduates for future businesses, i.e. lack of prospects for employability, skepticism from employers on the quality of education, and an unwillingness of youngsters to study, (which can cause a generation of angry uneducated youth)[11].

What is going on now is that under the curatorship of the Ministry of higher and secondary education of Uzbekistan, the universities are working out Anti-corruption programs, which is implemented by the administration (who are corrupt themselves). In addition, there is no assessment system to measure the outcome of the programs. Another measure being taken is updating (amending and supplementing) the Codes of Conduct, which is too general. They do not give full and complete understanding of avoiding/preventing corrupt practices, as well as penalties.

In conclusion, taking into account the aforementioned, as we have seen the examples and types of common' corruption in higher education sector, the answer for the questions given as the title of this articles is No. No matter what form of type the higher education has (online or face to face), it must provide all students with equal access to education. There are no equal access and equal opportunities. Actually, they exist, there they are, but they are not given (to students) on equal basis. There are lots of reasons for that. One could be bad internet connection in remote areas of the country.

To sum up, we propose the competent authorities to focus on the peculiarities of corruption in higher education, emphasizing, in working out measures to combat it, on the individual/particular approach (steps) rather than general rules.

End-Notes:
  1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 26, 1948, December 10. Resolution of the UN Assembly.
  2. Denisova-Schmidt, E. (2017b). Corruption in higher education. In J. C. Shin, & P. Teixeira (Eds.), Encyclopedia of international higher education systems and institutions. Springer. Google Scholar
  3. Albina Yun (2016). OSCE Academy. Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. Corruption in Uzbek higher education: detrimental impurity for the future. Bishkek.. P.11.
  4. The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, article 41.
  5. Osipian A. Glossary of Higher Education Corruption with Explanations, 2009, p � 26. http://people.vanderbilt.edu/~ararat.osipian.
  6. http://www.osvita.org.
  7. Joseph Attiah. (2015). Manifestation of corruption in higher education: the role of the University administrator. Article. Pearl Research Journals. http://pearlresearchjournals.org/journals/rjesr/index.html
  8. Albina Yun (2016). OSCE Academy. Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. Corruption in Uzbek higher education: detrimental impurity for the future. Bishkek. p.10.
  9. Denisova-Schmidt, E. (2018). Corruption, the Lack of Academic Integrity and Other Ethical Issues in Higher Education: What Can Be Done Within the Bologna Process? Article 04 July 2018 (p. 4). 2018 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77407-7_5
  10. Joseph Attiah. (2015). Manifestation of corruption in higher education: the role of the University administrator. Article. Pearl Research Journals. http://pearlresearchjournals.org/journals/rjesr/index.html
  11. Albina Yun (2016). OSCE Academy. Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. Corruption in Uzbek higher education: detrimental impurity for the future. Bishkek. p.5.
Written By: Inoyatullaev Sadulla, Senior teacher Academy of General Prosecutor's Office Uzbekistan
Tel: +998 94 190-00-07 E-mail: [email protected]

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