Corruption remains a major problem in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, threatening economic development and political stability as well as the credibility of governments. While some progress has been made in adopting anti-corruption laws in all five countries, the capture of important institutions by powerful interests is seriously undermining the effective enforcement of these laws.

This report sheds light on the many shapes and forms that corruption in education can take. It shows that, in all cases, corruption in education acts as a dangerous barrier to high-quality education and social and economic development.

It jeopardises the academic benefits of higher education institutions and may even lead to the reputational collapse of a country’s entire higher education system. In order to assess the way forward, the report also highlights innovative approaches to combating corruption in education.

Despite significant investment and anti-corruption capacity building in the past decades, "most systematically corrupt countries are considered to be just as corrupt now as they were before the anti-corruption interventions"(1). Statements like this are indicative of the frustration shared by practitioners and scholars alike at the apparent lack of success in controlling corruption worldwide and point to the need to rethink our understanding of the factors that fuel corruption and make it so hard to abate. 

Corruption is pervasive in Sub-Saharan Africa’s educational sector. The phenomenon includes not only bribery but also practices that the World Bank has labeled "quiet corruption." While anti-corruption interventions tackling such practices are typically based on assumptions of rational decision-making from classical economics, Cosimo analyses petty corruption practices through a behavioural lens.

Conventional anti-corruption approaches advocate for the adoption of legal and institutional reforms in line with international best practices. Nevertheless, these anti-corruption frameworks are often weakly implemented across the Global South. Overcoming these limitations invites the rethinking of some of the core assumptions of anti-corruption practice, which has mainly aimed to address poor accountability and weak law enforcement capabilities of the state.

Power and influence analysis can be used to assess corruption vulnerabilities in the public sector. This approach helps identify powerful stakeholders that should be engaged to achieve maximum impact for anti-corruption strategies. It also helps reveal informal political networks and relationships that can hamper anti-corruption efforts.

The Basel Institute on Governance participated in several workshops between 8 and 9 October 2012 with key stakeholders of the South African anti-corruption system (Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority, Special Investigating Unit, Department of Public Service Administration, South African Revenue Services, National Treasury, Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations of the South African Police Services) at a special session hosted by the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT).