Corruption in Education: Transparency in the Targeting and Management of Pro-Poor Incentives

8 November 09:00 – 11:00

Session Description

In meeting the Education For All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), education authorities are faced with the major challenge of ensuring access for and retention of all children, regardless of their socio-economic background, location, or gender. But experience shows that ‘more of the same’ is not enough to offer an adequate response to the needs and circumstances of the poorest. A wide variety of incentive programmes have been developed in this context to help target resources to the most in need, and foster community participation. However, the opportunities for corruption generated by such programmes have been rarely assessed, even though experience shows that they can be subject to many types of malpractices: falsification of data or records, collusion between administrative staff and beneficiaries, capture of resources by the local elite, etc. In this context, this workshop will review the major risks of fraud associated with particular pro-poor incentive models at different levels of the system, including higher education; as well as innovative strategies developed by countries to reduce such risks.

A number of questions will be debated within this framework, e.g. How can the right balance be found between the adoption of simple and transparent criteria for targeting resources and the need to address diverse needs? On what grounds can cash transfers be considered as more or less prone to corrupt practices compared to in-kind transfers? What are the pros and cons of decentralizing the management of resources to local entities and/or local communities under incentive schemes? How can the costs of falsifying data or records with a view to unduly benefit from incentive programmes be increased? How can cost-effective control mechanisms be set up in order to successfully reduce risks of misallocation and misuse of resources in a context of budgetary constraints? Under what conditions can community participation usefully contribute to the selection of programme beneficiaries and strengthen control over the use of resources? Are universal benefit schemes more likely to reach the most vulnerable groups than targeting approaches in a context of low administrative capacity?

Particular references will be made to experiences conducted in Liberia, South Africa, India Nepal and Brazil. The new opportunities offered by social networks to help map corruption risks in education will also be discussed. The cross-comparison of countries’ experiences should help produce varied and reproducible solutions for enhancing transparency and accountability in incentive-based educational programmes. These solutions, though based on the specific challenges faced in the education sector, should have great potential for addressing corruption challenges across other public sectors. In the concluding remarks, linkages will be made between some these topics and those raised by the forthcoming Global Corruption Report.

Session coordinator’s name:

Session Facilitator/Moderator
HALLAK, Jacques
International consultant

University of the Witwatersrand, Education Policy Unit (South Africa)
Topic: Changing Transparency and Accountability Rules in School Funding: the Quintile Ranking System in South Africa

KAPUR, Avani
Accountability Initiative (India)
Topic: Changing Transparency and Accountability Rules in School Grants: the ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ programme in India

DRAIBE, Sônia Miriam
State University of Campinas, Economics Institute (Brazil)
Topic: Changing Transparency and Accountability Rules in School Meals: the School Lunch Programme in Brazil

Accountability Lab (USA)
Topic: Changing the Rules of the Accountability Game in Higher Education

Belgrade Open School (Serbia)
Topic: Changing the Rules of the Accountability Game in Education Using Social Networks

Transparency International