FLORENCE, South Carolina — The International Institute for Educational Planning, a Paris-based research institute associated with the UNESCO, has launched ETICO, a global online database that fights corruption in education systems around the world. This anti-corruption information portal marks the first international initiative to address issues like the misappropriation of education funding, ghost schools, fake diplomas, and absent teachers.
Partner organizations of the IIEP have conducted surveys to show the significance of misappropriated school grants. Around 15 percent to 20 percent of payroll costs in some countries are ultimately distributed to the salaries of absent or ghost teachers. Instances of malpractice like this detract from the amount of funds that are actually used to improve school buildings, provide better class equipment, and buy school textbooks and materials.
In addition to containing ongoing research initiatives that track ethics and corruption, the ETICO database serves as a valuable source for expert training materials on transparency and accountability. National and international partners who are working to promote transparency are able to interact, communicate, upload information, and share research via the online platform. ETICO also supports the implementation of anti-corruption tools and strategies in education. An accompanying blog feature hosts further discussions and features successful intervention methods in different areas of the world.
The IIEP has addressed problems in education through traditional means as well. Recently, the IIEP published Achieving Transparency in Pro-Poor Education Incentives, a book that examines the best ways for poor and underprivileged children to gain scholarships, conditional cash transfers, free school meals and other necessary benefits.
In South Africa, a quintile ranking system was set up to provide funds to those who need them the most. To prevent any misappropriation of funds, several successful measures have been carefully implemented, leveling the educational playing field by cutting school fees for the poorest students.
Brazilian policy makers have focused on the issue of school lunches. In order to reduce the misappropriation of supplies and fraud in food procurement, food school councils were established to establish the process of continuous monitoring and accountability, reducing delays in the transfer of resources, cutting down operational costs and improving the overall quality of goods. These councils rely on the participation of both the school and the surrounding community. The Brazilian school lunch program now reaches over 45 million people and provides stability to the households of poor students.
The Indian state of Rajasthan has fought corruption by publically displaying transparency boards. Key information–such as teacher attendance and financial investments made by the school–is painted on school buildings. People are encouraged to report corrupt practices, and government officials are prompted to take action.
These cases of success could be replicated to counter corruption in other parts of the world. Constant malpractices in education are responsible for around millions of dollars in losses. The serious lack of ethics in the system also prevents children from getting the proper education that they deserve. Through the ETICO platform’s efforts to unite key stakeholders and create a strong front against the issue, corruption in education may finally be reduced.
Sources: All Africa, BBC, India Education Diary
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