The results of the study of corruption risks in the admission of children to school were presented
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- On 1 December, a public discussion of the results of a study of corruption risks at the stage of enrolling children in school was held in Tashkent. This study was carried out within the framework of the project “Creation of the first anti-corruption laboratories in Uzbekistan”, which is being implemented by the Yuksalish in partnership with the international non-governmental non-profit organization Regional Dialogue (Slovenia) and the Anti-Corruption Agency.
The goal of the project, launched in December 2020, is to create expert laboratories and conduct research on corruption risks across the republic, and involve the general public in research. At the first stage, surveys, including questionnaires and interviews, are aimed at assessing corruption risks at the stage of children’s enrollment in primary school.
The study covered the parents of first graders, primary school teachers in 114 schools in 14 regions of Uzbekistan. In April, pilot surveys were conducted among three groups of respondents in two schools in Tashkent. In May-June, large-scale polls were held in 114 schools in 14 regions of Uzbekistan, covering 28 cities, 31 regional centers, 31 rural settlements. A total of 4,920 people participated in the study, including 114 school principals, 1,563 primary school teachers and 3,243 parents of first graders. The collected data are systematized and analyzed.
During the public discussion, the main results of the analytical study were presented with the participation of representatives of state bodies, national and international experts in the field of combating corruption, public education, and social research. As noted, a number of facts and factors of unprofessional and corrupt behavior were identified among three groups of respondents - primary school teachers, parents of first-graders and school principals, i.e. all those who are directly involved in the school admission process.
On the basis of the respondents’ answers, general tendencies were identified that are factors of dishonest or corrupt behavior. These trends are affecting the primary school admission process and the quality of education in general. They are mainly related to the problems of the micro-site quota system, the lack of school premises (overcrowded classrooms), the lack of specific criteria for language selection in primary school, the poor quality of education and inadequacies in the regulation of the admission process.
For example, every fifth parent who participated in the survey was unable to arrange a child on the quota of the micro-site in which they live, due to the fact that there were no places at the school. Among the regions with the largest number of comments from teachers about overcrowding in classrooms are Namangan region (52 percent), Andijan (37.5 percent), Tashkent (29 percent), Khorezm regions (26 percent).
Most of the problems are rooted in insufficient budget funding, which, in turn, causes extra-budgetary payments from parents, unethical behavior among teachers and principals. Other trends include infrastructural problems, school supply, low wages, lack of qualified personnel, problems of psychological immaturity of children upon admission to school, as well as influence and pressure from both parents and higher organizations.
The presentation reveals the reasons for this behavior, provides conclusions and recommendations. As a result, the opinions were expressed by the heads and representatives of key departments involved in this project, experts from international organizations to combat and study corruption, specialists in the field of education, representatives of civil society, public councils, and journalists. The participants discussed the analyzed data, shared their experience and methodology of previous studies, recommendations for conducting such studies, international experience, proposals for improving the developed methodology.
The developed recommendations, including both the introduction of amendments and additions to the legislation, as well as the improvement of practices and procedures, as well as the research methodology will be submitted for consideration to the Ministry of Public Education and the National Council of Uzbekistan for Combating Corruption.