By: Mohamoud Dahir Omar
Somalilandsun – Education is a fundamental human right and a major driver of human and economic development. It strengthens personal integrity and shapes the societies in which we live. Since education typically comprises 30-40 per cent of a country’s budget, it is critically prone to corruption, from national education ministries to local schools and universities.
The cost of corruption is high. Stolen resources from education budgets mean overcrowded classrooms and crumbling schools, or no schools at all. Books and supplies are sometimes sold instead of being given out freely. Schools and universities charge unauthorized fees, forcing students usually to drop out. Teachers and lecturers are appointed through family connections, without qualifications. Grades can be bought. In higher education, government should put on eye education system corruption and financial corruption that is likely to happen.
It is difficult to measure the financial losses entailed by corruption in the education sector. Equally, it is hard to gauge which corrupt practices have the greatest impact – grand corruption say within the scope of infrastructure measures (construction of new school buildings) or petty corruption, where the sums involved in each individual instance are small. Petty corruption is extremely widespread, e.g. illegal fees charged for admission to a school, and those worst affected are the poor, selling supplies, hiring unprofessional teachers, academic fraud etc .
In terms of personnel (especially teaching staff) and in terms of the numbers served, the education sector is in our country is the second largest, or even largest, sector within the public service. As a result, the education budget is often the second-largest or largest budget item. Up to 90 % of the running costs within the education budget are accounted for by staff costs.
As a result of population growth in our country where 7o% of the population are under 25 years old, it will be essential to further expand primary and secondary education, and to find ways of financing this. Education services address with school-age children and all those with children studying. Since this means that a very large percentage of the population is affected by corruption in the education sector, making corruption in the education sector a politically sensitive issue in a poor country like Somaliland which its budget is only $120-$150 million.
In higher education, new technologies and increased competition between secondary schools may lead to new opportunities to corrupt practices. Academic fraud occurs when exam papers are sold or someone else sits for a test this can happen in our education systems. The privatization of academic institutions have spurred to increase the corruption since many times they fall outside national regulatory frame-works through these channels, unqualified individuals may find it easy to obtain credential and academic degree.
Corruption in the education system will shake the confidence of citizens in regional level and at national level, and reduces the ability and willingness of wide parts of society to become involved in systematic processes and one of the worst corruption system is growing private universities being set up in a haphazard fashion by money oriented people, whose sole purpose is nothing but to commercialise the higher education of the country by capitalising on the desperate need for universities by the public.
Corruption plays a crucial role for ethical damage because the ethical fall-out caused by corruption is particularly obvious in our education system. The imparting of ethical values and behavior is considered to be a central task of education. Corrupt practices, particularly in the education system itself, undermine an education geared to ethical values, and shatter confidence in the quality of the education system. When adolescents become familiar with corrupt practices and see that personal success depends not on performance but on fraud, unethical patterns of behavior are passed on to new generations and become more widespread. Thus, corruption in schools and universities does much to establish corruption as a normal, accepted practice within society.
For my recommendation clear, objectives criteria and regulations are needed in education finance and management. These should help to guide decisions on where schools are built, which teachers are appointed and demoted and what examinations are used. Criteria must be transparent and must be accessible to the public.
Adequate control mechanisms such as regular audits and inspections must be applies to detect corruption, fraud and action must be taken against those who confirmed perpetrators of corruption. Capacity must be built within education institutions to ensure officials and educators can apply and enforce existing regulations. The media both public and private should have an access to participate anti-corruption against education sector because access to information is out come for social control and perhaps most important means to prevent corruption. An examination assessment criteria and regulations are needed and appropriate measures to detect and address problems also must be applied. These must include the physical verification of a candidate’s identity, safe storage of exam papers and centralizing grading and computerizing testing.
Mohamoud Dahir Omar