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07.10.2008

What’s a “present” in school is a bribe in higher education

   

According to a survey undertaken by the Horshenin Institute, only 26.1% of Ukrainians have not paid a bribe when entering or studying in higher educational institutions. The survey was held from 22-28 September 2008 in all regional centres, as well as in Kyiv and Sevastopol.

63.5% of those studying or whose children were studying in institutes said that they had needed to give presents or pay money to lecturers or the management of institutes. What is more, about the same number (63.7%) did in fact see this as a bribe. Yet the study also found that when asked about gifts to school teachers or management, only 10% called them bribes, while 81.8% saw them as a demonstration of attention. The researchers conclude that Ukrainians are fairly tolerant about needing to give presents while their children are at school age, but the attitude becomes less clear at higher level.

They point out that bribes in institutes are not isolated cases for the majority of respondents.  10.3% said that they give them often; 76.1% - from time to time; 11.2% - rarely, while the rest couldn’t say.

Most often it was the parents or students themselves who offered a bribe of their own initiative; 36.4% - on the initiative of the senior monitor or other representative of student self-government. Approximately every fifth bribe (19.3%) was on the initiative of members of the higher institute.

The list of reasons for paying a bribe was topped by getting into an institute, with 42.3% of bribes paid for this purpose. Next in line came passing exams (24.7%) and end of course assessments [not a formal exam, but you need to have them to go on - translator] (11.5%); and the threat of being expelled – 6.7%  (the remainder cited other reasons or couldn’t answer).

Head of the call-centre of the Horshenin Institute Marina Tkachenko believes that the corruption in higher institutes demonstrates that market interests and academic values are out of sync and is the negative side of the commercialization of higher education. She thinks that if there are educational services which have a market value, there is no reason not to formally price them. “The lack of state policy in education or of established rules on the market, as well as competitive pressure from commercial institutes, has led to corruption being an everyday thing even in the “old” universities and institutes and does not even elicit public condemnation.”

1,000 people aged 18 and over were surveyed who were themselves, or whose children were studying in State funded higher educational institutions. The error margin was no higher than +/- 3,2%.

Based on information at http://human-rights.unian.net

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