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Charitable funds, non-transparent purchases, “accidental” directors, food, enrollment in schools and kindergartens: NACP suggests how to minimize corruption risks in education

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Charitable funds, non-transparent purchases, “accidental” directors, food, enrollment in schools and kindergartens: NACP suggests how to minimize corruption risks in education

The National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) together with the “U-LEAD with Europe” Program presented the results of the research “Strategic analysis of corruption risks in preschool and general secondary education”.

The document describes in detail 35 corruption risks in four main processes of general secondary and preschool education management. Such as:

  •  financing;
  •  appointment of managers;
  •  administration;
  •  educational process.

Experts also analyzed corruption-inducing factors in 10 legal acts that regulate this area.

We have developed recommendations that will be useful for parents, the public, educational institutions, authorities and local self-government, the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (MES).

“The topic of corruption in education was not chosen by chance. Even last year, we started working with the educational sector, analyzed the corruption risks in higher education, as well as in the admissions campaign this year due to the cancellation of the ZNO during martial law. Another important direction is the work with territorial communities and local self-government bodies. The development of a political nation, the preservation and transfer of legacy to the next generations directly depend on the quality of education, the foundation of which in communities are schools and kindergartens”, — said Serhiy Derkach, head of the Department of Prevention and Detection of Corruption of the NACP.  He emphasized the importance of forming value orientations in children so that corruption does not become the norm for them in the future.  In addition, corruption in schools and kindergartens makes it impossible to obtain quality and affordable education, creating unequal rules of access to educational services.

Soren Herbst, Head of the Department for Support of the Multilevel Management System of the “U-LEAD with Europe” Program, noted: “With joint efforts, we support Ukraine’s path to democracy and European values. Together, we are building a society in which children can receive quality and affordable education. The most successful states are societies with the lowest level of corruption. Ukraine wants to belong to this club, and we will help it in this.”

Ulyana Grotovytska, a representative of the Department of Prevention and Detection of Corruption of the NACP, noted that the research was conducted in accordance with international standards and a new methodology for assessing corruption risks.

“One of the biggest groups of risks are risks in the field of financing educational institutions, in particular, due to the management of educational subvention from the MES and extra-budgetary funds.  School levies, i.e. voluntary and forced collection of funds for repairs, detergents, curtains, gifts, unfortunately, also remain.  These funds can be misused by both the institution’s administration and parents.  One of the reasons is parents’ ignorance that such contributions are voluntary and anonymous.  They do not know how to check the availability of funding for their school and understand the sources of funds.  Therefore, it will be very useful to conduct an information campaign on how parents can control this,” said Ulyana Grotovytska.

Corruption risks are also common when appointing heads of educational institutions: at the preparatory stage, during the announcement of the competition, evaluation of knowledge and determination of the winner. The competition may also not be assigned. For example, the founder of a school or an official, intending to appoint a specific manager (relative, familiar to him or third parties) in his own interests or in pursuit of a certain benefit, does not announce a competition, but extends a fixed-term employment contract.

Therefore, the NACP proposes to establish responsibility for the appointment of the head of the institution without a competition, to prohibit the extension of the employment contract of managers without a competition.  It also recommends developing and approving a standard tender provision with requirements for members of tender commissions, etc.

These recommendations regarding the conduct of competitive procedures were supported by Serhiy Gorbachev, the educational ombudsman.

 The representative of the Department of Prevention and Detection of Corruption of the NACP Andriy Prepodobny outlined the risks in the administration of educational institutions. These include catering services, property and grounds management, and personnel management. Among the most common risks are: reducing the amount of food, changing its quality, giving preference to a specific supplier, inflating food prices, demanding money for free food, using school buses and the property of institutions, abuse of leave for educators, especially during martial law, agitation  and the election process in schools, etc.

The participants also cited a number of positive examples that contribute to reducing the level of corruption in education. This includes the use of blockchain technologies to manage the electronic queue of children, the implementation of convenient student registration systems, electronic diaries, high-quality educational work among schoolchildren and teachers, etc.  The co-founder of the “Parents SOS” NGO, Olena Parfyonova, spoke about the role of transparency in educational institutions, cooperation between parents and school administration.

In the research, the NACP singles out 5 guiding principles for the development of anti-corruption actions in education: legal certainty, subjectivity of interested parties, transparency and accessibility, impartiality and expediency. According to Oleksandra Koidel, a teacher at the Kyiv School of Economics, it is important for educational institutions to ensure transparent processes of informing about the activities of kindergartens and schools and to receive feedback from parents.

If you have proposals for research or positive examples of changes in educational institutions, send them to the e-mail: anticor_coordination4@nazk.gov.ua.

You can find the results of the research via the link: https://bit.ly/3UySfRS

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