Surveys on Corruption Risks in Schools: Respondents Note the Need to Ensure Transparency in Recruitment and Budgeting
Survey of corruption risks in the public education system of Uzbekistan covered 114 schools, 28 cities from 14 regions. A social study of the level of perception of corruption by the population was attended by over 5,000 respondents, including primary school teachers, parents of first-graders and school principals.
The survey was conducted within the frames of the project “Establishment of the First Anti-Corruption Laboratories in Uzbekistan”, implemented by the Nationwide Movement “Yuksalish”, jointly with the Anti-Corruption Agency and the International Non-Governmental Organization “Regional Dialogue” (Slovenia).
“The questionnaire survey and interviews among the three groups of respondents were conducted from May 22 to June 11 with full confidentiality,” said Lyudmila Stayshyunayte, Project Manager for “Establishment of the First Anti-Corruption Laboratories in Uzbekistan”. “Currently, experts are systematizing information for further analysis. But already now the preliminary data shows the need to study the transparency of the processes of recruitment of teachers, appointment to managerial positions, and study of budgeting in schools.
The questionnaires included questions about the effectiveness of the online queue system for submitting documents to the first grade qabul.maktab.uz, about the reasons for class overcrowding, problems in schools, and budget funding. According to preliminary results, the qabul.maktab.uz system, which was introduced in Tashkent, is approved by all three groups of respondents, since it provides an organized admission to school, and saves time for everyone involved. Many school principals advocate for school admissions on specific days and shorter deadlines. This way, parents will plan their visit to school, rather than come to school on the last day with demands to enroll their child.
The respondents listed permissiveness, impunity, and the lack of clear criteria for admission to school among the reasons for integrity breaches and poor conduct when entering school. In such a situation, everyone is looking for ways to resolve the issue in their favor. The respondents-teachers noted the lack of parental control over the level of knowledge of children, no commitment to develop logical thinking and children's interest in learning. Coupled with shortage of experienced teachers, this makes learning difficult and reduces the quality of education.
As the Project Manager Lyudmila Stayshyunayte noted, the study revealed a whole layer of problems in Tashkent. Among them - a shortage of schools on the background of rapid construction, a shortage of qualified staff, the lack of criteria for admission to schools, especially those with the Russian language of learning. Such schools are in high demand among the population, as citizens believe that they provide better learning.
The most common problem, which was previously identified in the course of the study, is the language barrier when entering a school with Russian language of learning. This practice is observed not only among students, but also among parents who cannot help their children with homework. Families that speak only Uzbek in everyday life often do not consider the need for preliminary language training of their child for further education in a nursery or general school with Russian language of learning.
Both teachers and principals note the disastrous nature of this trend. This leads to the formation of insecurities and a feeling of inferiority even in talented children. The respondents see the solution to the problem in the expansion and popularization of preschool language training programs, taking into account the future language of instruction at school.
The survey has shown that the population supports such studies, willingly participates in them, offers ideas for further stages and is ready for changes. It is expected that expert laboratories will help study the factors of corruption risks, people's attitudes towards corruption, understand moods and trends in society, and explore other areas.
Shortcomings in legislation are also a factor of corruption risks. Therefore, in addition to surveys in schools, experts of the anti-corruption laboratory studied the regulations regarding admission to school and the education system as a whole.
The final results will be published after analyzing the data collected in all regions. It is planned to compare information in the context of regions, cities, districts and rural areas in order to understand trends and problems not only by groups of respondents, but also by territory.
The laboratory for studying the transparency of admission to the first grade is an experiment to develop a mechanism for researching corruption risks, which includes the study of shortcomings in legislation among target groups and analysis of the data obtained, with the development of recommendations for reducing the risks revealed. The developed methodology for the analysis and assessment of corruption risks will subsequently be applied in other socially significant areas.
Press Service of the Nationwide Movement "Yuksalish"