Corruption in Ukrainian higher education



The Democratic Initiatives Foundation has published the results of a nationwide survey which it carried out, together with the firm Ukrainian Sociology Service among students. Between 23 March and 3 April 2010 more than one thousand students from 60 State-run and private institutes were asked various questions about choice of studies, expectations, as well as about encounters with corruption when handing in course work, taking exams, defending dissertations and in order to avoid being expelled.

33% of the respondents had direct experience of corruption while 29% had heard about it from others. 38% said that they had not encountered corruption at their institute at all.

Interestingly, it made virtually no difference whether the institute was State-owned or private, nor whether a student was studying at the State’s expense or on a contract basis (31.1% and 34.6%, respectively). Students studying law subjects most often encountered corruption. Only 29.3% of future lawyers had no experience of corruption, with 39.1% saying that they did.  The least corruption was seen in the humanitarian fields, with 45.6% of the respondents having no experience and 25.4% having run up against it.

A major factor was how well the student was doing. The higher their general success rate, the less likely they were to be involved in corrupt arrangements.

As far as their attitude to corruption was concerned, 35% of the respondents considered it to be “one of the possible ways of resolving existing problems”; 31% considered it to be a crime; while 21% said that it was a norm of modern life. This assessment depended greatly on whether the respondents were themselves involved in corrupt arrangements. Among those with no personal experience, 42% regarded it as a crime, and 13% as a norm of modern life. Among those with such experience, 28% called it a norm, and on 21% a crime.

Students largely equated corruption with bribe-taking, with 75% seeing it in this way. 43% saw extortion as a form of corruption; 40% - misuse of official position, while only 14% saw giving presents as corruption. 

32% replied that they had had to give presents to their lecturers; 27% had provided various services; 24% had paid for marks, while 21% had bought essays, course or diploma assignments. Only 34% had no involvement in corrupt arrangements.

52% said that the main reason for corrupt practice was the wish to get the mark needed. Only 15% cited pressure from lecturers.  According to 75% of the respondents, the main situation where corruption was involved was over confirmation of the course requirements being met [zalik] and exams. 

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