Academic journal article Demokratizatsiya

Political Graft and Education Corruption in Ukraine: Compliance, Collusion, and Control

Academic journal article Demokratizatsiya

Political Graft and Education Corruption in Ukraine: Compliance, Collusion, and Control

Article excerpt

Corruption is a growing problem throughout the world. According to some estimates, countries with transition economies are the most corrupt. Transparency International and World Bank surveys both show that Ukraine is an especially corrupt country.1 According to the corruption perceptions index (CPI) that Transparency International calculates annually, Ukraine ranked 83rd out of the 91 countries surveyed in 2001.2 In 2006, Ukraine was given a score of 2.8, making it 99th out of 163 countries.3

A number of scholarly publications and national surveys in Ukraine confirmed that corruption is a problem. For instance, a 2002 Ukrainian Institute of Social Research poll showed that 78 percent of respondents believed that all or most government officials have accepted bribes. More than 80 percent stated that corruption was prevalent within the judicial branch of the government, and 71 percent believed that most government officials were tied to the mafia or private family business relations. Moreover, a good portion of Ukrainians are inclined to accept bribery as a normal part of everyday life.4 Peter Solomon and Todd Foglesong note that the number of reported corruption-related incidents in Ukraine rose 250 percent between 1990 and 1998. By 1998, there were 2,449 incidents, which led to 1,641 convictions.5 According to the data presented by the Civil Organization Committee against Corruption and Organized Crime, the number of reports of corruption sent to court by Ukranian law enforcement agencies for trial increased from 5,862 in 2006 to 5,994 in 2007.6

Corruption may be found in many sectors of the national economy, including higher education. Corruption in education is more detrimental than typical bureaucratic corruption. Corruption in higher education is detrimental to society for three major reasons: (1) it has a negative impact on the economy and society because it hinders the system's efficiency; (2) it hurts society by negatively affecting educational programs; and (3) it diminishes social cohesion, because students learn corrupt practices. Corruption in higher education negatively affects access to higher education, quality of higher education services, and equity. The development of a substantial private sector in higher education has led to increased corruption. Private higher education institutions are as corrupt as their public counterparts, proving that people other than public officials are susceptible to corruption.

Corruption in Higher Education

There are 680,000 licensed openings (and no unlicensed openings) for freshmen in approximately 480 higher education institutions in Ukraine, 80 percent of which are in public higher education institutions and 20 percent are in private institutions. There are also numerous public community colleges and vocational schools. There are more openings in higher education institutions in Ukraine than there are candidates willing to pursue college degrees, including openings in distance-learning programs, correspondence programs, and retraining. The government funds half of the students in public colleges and universities. The admissions processes at government-funded institiutions are corrupt: Prospective students pay bribes and use personal connections to gain access to pubicly funded colleges and universities.7 Furthermore, after admission, course grades can be bought from faculty members.

There are a variety of forms of corruption that can be found in higher education in Ukraine, including bribery, embezzlement, extortion, fraud, nepotism, cronyism, favoritism, kickbacks, violating rules and regulations, ignoring admissions criteria in the admissions process, cheating, plagiarism, research misconduct, discrimination, and abuse of public property. Such forms of corruption are often connected in bundles-assigning a high grade to a student in exchange for a bribe is fraud, for instance. The corruption can have different origins. A bribe can be offered voluntarily or extorted. …

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