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Fighting Academic Corruption in Eastern European Universities: Recent Initiatives Led by Student Organizations and NGOs. Daniel Teodorescu Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA Tudorel Andrei Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania Dauphine University, Paris, France. Definition.

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Daniel teodorescu emory university atlanta ga usa tudorel andrei

Fighting Academic Corruption in Eastern European Universities: Recent Initiatives Led by Student Organizations and NGOs

Daniel Teodorescu

Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

Tudorel Andrei

Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania

Dauphine University, Paris, France


Definition

Definition

  • “the systematic use of public office for private benefit whose impact is significant on access, quality and equity in education”

    (Hallak and Poisson)

  • Many different forms:

    bribery, bypassing criteria, malpractice, misconduct, academic fraud, plagiarism, favouritism, as well as corruption in procurement, financial mismanagement, embezzlement, extortion, lack of transparency.


C m d a

C = M+D-A

Corruption equals monopoly plus discretion

minus accountability.

If a system gives a government official monopoly power over a good or service and the discretion to decide how much a particular client receives, yet the official is not held accountable, then the system will be prone to extortion or bribery.


Consequences

Consequences

  • deficiencies in the quality of experts and the labour force could jeopardize the development of a country.

  • if students are taught in a system that accepts corrupt behaviour as a social standard, it can be expected that they will continue to behave in a similar manner later in their lives.

  • the quality of the higher education sector will continue to be mediocre, and rates of return to a college degree will continue to decline.

  • undermines employers’ and the general public’s trust in the country’s colleges and universities.


Incidence of corruption in he

Incidence of Corruption in HE

Source: Heyneman, S. P., Anderson, K. H., & Nuraliyev, N. (2008). The cost of corruption in higher education. Comparative Education Review, 52, 1–25.


Incidence of corruption in he1

Incidence of Corruption in HE

Incidence of corruption in Romania (public universities in Bucharest) % students who have

  • witnessed this behavior

  • (a) Copying a colleague’s exam or using 84.5

    other illicit means during the examination

  • (b) Direct approach or through an intermediary

    of the examining professor to obtain a36.7

    passing grade or a higher grade in the exam

  • (c) Hiring the instructor who teaches the class 18.2

    as a private tutor

  • (d) Copying paragraphs from books, scientific 65.7

    works or the Internet in written assignments

  • (e) Copying written assignments from colleagues58.7

    Source: Teodorescu, D. and Andrei T. (2008). An Examination of Students’ Propensity to Cheat: The Importance of Peers and Faculty Influences. Presented at the 48th AIR Forum, Seattle, May 24th-28th.


  • Perceptions about cheating

    Perceptions about Cheating

    Source: Heyneman, S. P., Anderson, K. H., & Nuraliyev, N. (2008). The cost of corruption in higher education. Comparative Education Review, 52, 1–25.


    Perceptions about cheating in romania public univ in bucharest

    Perceptions about Cheating in Romania (public univ in Bucharest)

    % of students

    Would try to copy exam from a colleague if there

    was no other way to pass an exam 40.3

    Would try to copy from cribs and others sources

    if there was no other way to pass an exam 32.5

    Would report a colleague who offers money/gifts

    to faculty in exchange for a passing or higher grade 9.7

    Would report a professor who asks for or accepts

    money in exchange of a passing grade on exams23.9

    Would report a colleague who copies my work

    during exam 4.0

    Would report a colleague who pays others to

    complete the senior thesis project or other individual projects 6.0

    Would report a professor who plagiarizes entire paragraphs

    in his/her textbooks or publications19.5

    Source: Teodorescu, D. and Andrei T. (2008). An Examination of Students’ Propensity to Cheat: The Importance of Peers and Faculty Influences. Presented at the 48th AIR Forum, Seattle, May 24th-28th.


    Causes of corruption

    Causes of corruption

    • Privatization of HE

    • Massification of HE

    • Increased attention and more criticism from the mass media

    • Declining salaries


    Cost of corruption

    Cost of Corruption

    • Economic rates of return to public investment in education would have to be reduced from between 2 and 15% as a result of the sacrifice in quality due to academic corruption.

      Source: Heyneman, S. P., Anderson, K. H., & Nuraliyev, N. (2008). The cost of corruption in higher education. Comparative Education Review, 52, 1–25.


    Roots of anti corruption movements

    Roots of anti-corruption movements

    • By and large, anticorruption measures have been initiated from outside the system, rather from inside.

    • The reason is that those at the top have a stake in sustaining the status quo because they are part of the corrupt system themselves and greatly benefit from it.


    The role of ngos

    The Role of NGOs

    • Analysis of corruption

    • Public education

    • Engaging the media in investigative reporting

    • Pilot initiatives to create lasting anti-corruption structures and instruments

    • Facilitating a broader cooperation in counteracting corruption


    Acquiring information about corruption

    Acquiring information about corruption

    • The first step in any effective anti-corruption intervention

    • Almost never initiated by colleges/universities or ministries

    • Examples:

      -The Anti-Corruption Student Network (ACSN) in Southeastern Europe

      -the Coalition for Clean Universities (CUC) in Romania

      -Coalition 2000 in Bulgaria

      -Transparency International surveys in Bosnia and Herzegovina


    2 developing anti corruption education

    2) Developing anti-corruption education

    In Bulgaria:

    Coalition 2000 sponsored the creation of a specialized anticorruption portal: Anticorruption Education. In 2004 the group also published a brochure called Anticorruption Notebook and distributed it to students. The brochure gives practical advices to students on how to deal with corruption practices at the universities if they encounter them in their academic life.

    It also introduced anticorruption classes in the official curricula of the Bulgarian secondary schools in the fall of 2004.


    2 developing anti corruption education1

    2) Developing anti-corruption education

    • In Romania:

      -A campaign against nepotism was sustained by several newspapers and a web site was created to mediate this initiative (www.nepotism.org)

      -The Romanian Academic Forum (FAR, Forumul Academic Roman www.forum-academic.com) prepared in 2004 a study entitled “Proposal for the reform of the Romanian higher education system.”


    2 developing anti corruption education2

    2) Developing anti-corruption education

    • In Lithuania

      The Modern Didactics Center created:

      optional anti-corruption programme for secondary schools,

      programmes and courses for anti-corruption education at universities, 

      in-service training programme of anti-corruption education for teachers’ professional improvement

      development of a team of trainers responsible for the dissemination of the findings


    3 engaging the media in investigative reporting

    3) Engaging the media in investigative reporting

    • The International Research Exchange (IREX) is a good example of an international NGO that involves heavily the local media in the fight against corruption.

    • IREX has supported investigative TV news programming in Albania and Bulgaria that uncovers corrupt practices in government and business. IREX supports local TV broadcasters and news teams to produce television series such as the Bulgarian program NaChisto and the Albanian program Hapur.

    • Modeled loosely on American investigative news show formats, episodes probe cases of corruption, aiming to reduce corruption through public exposure and professional journalism.


    The role of student organizations

    The Role of Student Organizations

    • Along with NGOs, student organizations have been a major force of change in the fight against corruption throughout the former Soviet bloc.

    • If NGOs tend to have more input at the initial stage of an anti-corruption movement (data collection and dissemination of information), the main contribution of student organizations comes at the second stage: organization of anti-corruption campaigns.


    Examples of student led campaigns

    Examples of student-led campaigns

    In Romania:

    In 2006 the student organizations in Iasi established in a local structure that mirrors the National Anti-Corruption Division.

    Established primarily to eliminate corruption in the allocation of student housing and grading of exams.

    Monitoring structure that includes local committees and a central committee.

    In every major city, there will be an ombudsman office where students and professors can report corruption cases. The National Student Union in Romania (UNSR) will release to the public all cases that have been verified as valid complaints.


    Examples of student led campaigns1

    Examples of student-led campaigns

    In Moldova:

    There already is a strong tradition of anti-corruption campaigns.

    Organized by the national student organization (the Alliance of Students in Moldova) and supported by the Ministry of Education.

    Brought students and faculty together to discuss cases of corruption and ways to improve academic integrity.


    Examples of student led campaigns2

    Examples of student-led campaigns

    • In Bulgaria

      Coalition 2000 in Bulgaria sponsored the student initiative (“I Do Not Bribe.” ) organized by the National Youth Organization for Social and Economic Development in three universities: Plovdiv University Paisii Hilendarski, Gabrovo Technical University and New Bulgarian University.

      Project activities included specialized on-line surveys on corruption topics which aimed at investigating the students’ opinions regarding the existence of corruption practices at the Bulgarian universities.

      Survey results were presented at round tables at the three target universities and discussed with students and professors.


    What can governments and he institutions do

    What can governments and HE institutions do?

    • The civil society is a necessary element in the fight against corruption, but not sufficient in itself. To be effective in the fight against corruption, NGOs and student organizations need to work in association with governments and institutions of higher education.

    • The key ingredients to any successful anti-corruption initiatives are commitments and alliances.

    • Compared to the civil society’s anti-corruption initiatives, governmental response has been relatively weak and slow in most countries throughout the region.


    Expected roles in a collaborative approach

    Expected roles in a collaborative approach


    Stages of an anti corruption movement

    Stages of an Anti-Corruption Movement

    STAGE I: Infancy (Self awareness)

    • MAIN ACTORS: International and local NGOs, media

    • ACTIONS:

      International donors and NGOs work with local NGOs to begin assessing incidence and perceptions of corruption

      NGOs and media publicize results to the public and initiate discussions with the ministry and higher education institutions

    • IMPACT :

       Changes in perceptions

    • SCOPE of IMPACT:  

      Selected Institutions


    Stages of an anti corruption movement1

    Stages of an Anti-Corruption Movement

    STAGE II: Adolescence (Public Education)

    • MAIN ACTORS: International and local NGOs, media, student organizations, professors

    • ACTIONS:

      Student groups organize local anti-corruption campaigns

       Academics and students put in place structures for reporting corruption cases  

      NGOs set up public education programs and support investigative reporting

    • IMPACT :

       Changes in perceptions

    • SCOPE of IMPACT:  

      Selected Institutions


    Stages of an anti corruption movement2

    Stages of an Anti-Corruption Movement

    STAGE III: Early Maturity(Legislative reforms)

    • MAIN ACTORS: Ministry of Education, Higher Education Institutions

    • ACTIONS:

      Colleges and universities institute honor codes

       Institution-based admissions exams are replaced by national standardized exams 

      Certification and licensing in the professions is separated from

      HE institutions

    • IMPACT :

       Changes in behaviors

    • SCOPE of IMPACT:  

      All institutions


    Stages of an anti corruption movement3

    Stages of an Anti-Corruption Movement

    STAGE IV: Late Maturity(Implementation of reforms)

    • MAIN ACTORS: Higher Education Institutions, Judiciary System

    • ACTIONS:

      Students regularly report cases of corruption

       Institutions punish faculty and administrators who are proven guilty of corruption

    • IMPACT :

       Changes in behaviors

    • SCOPE of IMPACT:  

      All institutions


    Conclusions

    Conclusions

    • NGOs and student organizations are making higher education institutions more open, lawful, accountable, and responsive.

    • While it is too early to assess the impact of these initiatives, the fact that we are beginning to see strong student movements against corrupt practices in universities is encouraging.

    • One needs to be realistic and recognize that cultural changes in the CEE countries will not happen over night.

    • The challenge for governments is to recognize that the civil society (NGOs, students, and academics) can be their ally and partner.


    Questions

    Questions?

    [email protected]


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