16 июля 2014 15:12

Corruption in Kazakhstan's education system


Kazakhstan's Minister of Education Aslan Sarinzhipov ©pm.kz Kazakhstan's Minister of Education Aslan Sarinzhipov ©pm.kz

Corruption in the education system of Kazakhstan has been increasing lately in spite of all the measures taken to harness it, Tengrinews reports.

Corruption in the education system of Kazakhstan has been increasing lately in spite of all the measures taken to harness it, Tengrinews reports.

First Deputy Chairman of the Financial Police Andrey Lukin reported that the number of registered corruption-related crimes in Kazakhstan's education system was growing every year. 

“In 2013 the financial police revealed 221 crimes in the education system, whereas in the first quarter of this year 121 such crimes were registered. Crimes in the education sector are not region specific, they are spread out though the entire country, although South Kazakhstan Oblast, Akmola Oblasts and Astana City are the leaders by the number of such crimes,” Andrey Lukin said.

There are also a number of high profile cases in education. “Criminal cases against ex-head of the Education Ministry’s Finance Department Mr. Kaldybayev and ex-head of the Ministry’s Youth Policies Department Mr. Ibrayev are being investigated. They used their official position to sign several fraudulent work completion certificates and misappropriated a total of $490 thousand from the budget. The case against ex-Vide-Minister of Education  Sayat Shayakhmetov is already in court. He is charged with embezzlement of $6 million from the budget,” Andrey Lukin said.

Kazakhstan's Minister of Education Aslan Sarinzhipov also spoke about corruption in Kazakhstan's education system.

According to the General Prosecutor's Office, growth in the number of corruption offenses has been registered at grassroots level as well, he said. "Most of the cases involve forgery - 35 percent, embezzlement - 29 percent, abuse of power - 17 percent, receiving bribes - 17 percent and fraud - 6 percent. In preschool education, a major share of the corruption crimes is linked to distribution of places in kindergartens, supply of baby food and appointment of heads of kindergartens. Lack of clear criteria for enrollment, discriminatory selection and increased stratification of schools into high-profile and ordinary ones are pushing parents into paying bribes to ensure enrollment of their children in good schools. Appointment of school directors is not transparent enough," the Minister of Education said.

"The problem of corruption manifests itself especially acridly in the Unified National Testing (UNT). Due to lack of an alternative exam, UNT is exposed to high risks of corruption," he said.

"Corruption is widespread in universities. In some universities, the cost of passing end-of-semester exams amounts to around $273. A lot of people reserve to giving bribes to get a dormitory room, get enrolled for Master’s or PhD studies," the Minister said.

According to Aslan Sarinzhipov, low salaries of teaching staff, inadequate funding of schools, insufficiency of the number of schools hinders elimination of corruption from the education system. "Today, an average salary of a teacher is $411. This is 30 percent less than the average salary in the country," the Minister said.

The Minister said that one of the ways to combat corruption and improve competitiveness of schools in this situation would be to introduce per capita funding to create additional financial incentives for schools to improve their performance.

According to the Financial Police, corruption cases in education system makes up 16% of the overall number of corruption crimes in Kazakhstan. 

Reporting by Assemgul Kassenova, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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