July 18, 2007

The Higher Education Corruption Monitor

Corruption in all of its many forms has become a central issue in higher education worldwide. Rapid expansion, fueled by growing demand for access; dramatic increase in private higher education providers; the marketization of many aspects of higher education; and the financial problems faced by institutions and teaching and administrative staff have all contributed to a variety of corrupt practices.

Academic corruption can be found in all countries but is especially prevalent in countries facing severe economic hardships and resultant pressure on their higher education systems, in systems with little external supervision and inadequate quality assurance mechanisms, and in countries in which there is a good deal of societal corruption.

Because of its tradition of probity and reliance on objective and meritocratic values, the problem of corruption is especially important for higher education. Academic institutions and the professoriate claim a special status in all societies—the right to academic freedom and individual and institutional autonomy and a high social prestige. Universities, after all, are responsible for educating the next generation of leaders, conducting scholarly research, and providing objective social analysis. As the national competitiveness in the global economy comes to increasingly depend on the quality of knowledge generated within and on the quality of education provided by a country’s higher education institutions, the costs of academic corruption become considerable.

The dictionary definition of corruption will suffice for academe: “impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle; inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means.” Corruption in higher education can occur at both institutional and systemic levels and influences university examinations, the conferring of academic credentials, the procurement of goods and services, academic and administrative staff recruitment and promotion, budget allocation and utilization, property management, and the licensing and accreditation of institutions. Instances of academic corruption may involve bribery, facilitation of cheating and impersonation, the establishment of diploma mills, forgery and falsification of examination results, degrees and credentials, patronage, cronyism, and professional misconduct among teachers.

The primary goal of the Higher Education Corruption Monitor is to shed light on corrupt practices of all kinds in different countries, provide resources on current research on corruption in higher education, and serve as a forum for information exchange. The Monitor will collect and, in some cases, summarize news reports, documents, legal testimony, university reports, conference materials, research articles, and other kinds of documentation, and make the data available through a dedicated website.

The Monitor will also collect information on policies and initiatives of international agencies and on various measures and reforms undertaken in different countries to address the challenges of corruption in higher education. The Monitor will link its website with websites of other institutions and agencies interested in the topic and with other on-line resources on corruption in order to avoid duplication and at the same time provide maximum attention to the issue. From time to time, the Monitor may issue reports on specific themes relating to corruption in higher education. The Monitor will not seek to verify each item placed on its website but will make every effort to choose reputable reports. The website will be part of the Center for International Higher Education’s widely used website.

The Monitor will be coordinated by Natia Janashia, graduate assistant in the Center for Higher Education (e-mail:

From: The Higher Education Corruption Monitor


Anonymous said...

Boris has remined us that universities are autonomous institutions.

Univerisites are funded by public money... our money....

It is crucial therefore that they are able to monitor working practice to ensure that it meets the highest standards and that they provide value for the money that is invested in them.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

have complained to my university about my manager lying about our group's performance, I was attacked about behaviour (there is noise coming from your office)! when complaining about my manager spreading lies about me to cover weaknesses in his research, they said they wont and cannot stop him from doing this!
Asked them if they have looked at the specific incidents in my complaint, they stated that they are looking at generic issues not incidents.

The outcome by the investigating committee: no reason to take any action.

No justice, no correction, only applaud for the liar.

The UCU is the colluding observer.