Integrity and Corruption
Integrity has two dimensions, which reflect the significance of interactions between individuals as potential perpetrators of violations, and their environment. The first dimension is normative and best described in formal terms, as the founding principle of public administration (Article 101 of the UN Charter). It stands for the consistent application of generally accepted values, principles and norms in the daily operations of public sector organisations (OECD, 2005) that should allow these organisations to serve the public interest in the best possible way. The values, principles and norms of operation are reflected in laws and bylaws that set the “rules of the game” in the public sector in general and in education in particular. Taken together, they form the normative fundament of integral behaviour.
Below this normative fundament, however, there is a deeper, less visible dimension. It is the integrity of individuals participating in education, either as providers or as users of services. Without their compliance with the norms, even the best of laws and bylaws will fail to make a difference. The personal integrity of participants in education is a function of their willingness to comply with the norms, and the extent to which these norms allow their expectations to be met.
In the anti-corruption strategy, Armenian government has identified education as one of the priority areas where the advancement of the field is largely hindered by widespread malpractice and lack of integrity. However, the expert community of the country, along with the available research evidence comes to express concerns about the overall effectiveness of the reforms. Perception of corruption in education has not declined in recent years, and even more: the beneficiaries of education consider that much malpractice in education is not being tracked down and properly addressed. The study focuses on the gaps of anti-corruption policy planning.
Institute of Public Policy has conducted a research on “Assessment of corruption risks in the field of public education of the RA” that analyzes the reform of inclusive education, the legislative basis for textbook development and textbook price formation mechanisms and the institute of private tutoring from the perspective of corruption risks.
The field of inclusive education is undergoing major developments in Armenia, and oftentimes there is a valid concern that poor planning and implementation of reform may result in more corrupt mechanism of funding inclusive education, evaluation the educational need of a child, hiring and firing of the staff in the relevant institutions including schools and support/assessment centres.
The research also analyzes the legislative basis for textbook development, the competitive basis for publishers, expertise issues and textbook price formation mechanisms.