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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

No Return?

Fulbright Conference has united the fighters against corruption
17 October, 2006 - 00:00
Photo by Mykhajlo MARKIV

To prevent corruption, one should first of all unite the efforts — both of students and of teachers, — not wait till the law will punish all the offenders

Despite all the legislative and moral-ethical norms being propagandized by the Ukrainian state, the corruption problem doesn’t lose its actuality. Everyone has faced it — in the state institutions, hospitals, on the roads or in the educational establishments. However, due to the official statistics, the fight against corruption is more likely to lead to the envelope sums rise, than to the population resistance increase.

Education and medicine remain the most vulnerable spheres for the corrupted — every fifth abuse of power takes place here. During the first half of the current year more than 200 bribery cases have been exposed in the education system. The bribery splash traditionally happens in the period, when students are passing exams or enter higher educational establishments. The State Service Against Economic Crimes reported in summer already that an average bribe size was 8.500000 hrn in 2006, and in the sphere of education it changes, in particular, from 500 to 60000 hrn. The higher educational establishments are regularly checked, and every time there is work for law enforcing authorities and taxation bodies: during half year 119 people were charged, among them two rectors, five pro-rectors and seven deans of Ukrainian higher educational establishments.

International Treatment

This year IX Fulbright Conference was devoted to the vital problems of ethics and morality in the Ukrainian education. The leading Ukrainian academics have discussed the circumstances for the appearance of corruption in the High school and the preventive measures, taking into consideration briberies, “kum’s” agreements and other cases of power exceeding.

There are two periods when the attempts to influence the educational process participants take place — the entering exams and the examination period. The academics think that that it is it is much easier to avoid bribery in the first case than during the studying process — it is enough just to separate the entering exams from the educational establishment. “Ukraine’s bribery system is hierarchal it comes from rectors, pro-rectors, deans — up to the officials of lower rank, a teacher of the Economic and Law University “Krok” Olexandr Merezhko said. Today’s educational system is totally corrupted, and we have come to far to be able to return to uncorrupted education by ordinary methods used in Europe and the USA” .

An independent testing, at least by the schemes offered by the Ukrainian Education Quality Assessment Centre, is actually an effective method against corruption. In the majority of western countries the enrollment to the higher educational establishments is held exceptionally due to the rating, and school grades are of the major importance. This variant is unacceptable for Ukraine: the corruption machinations would, most likely, move to schools, all the more the cases of buying the winner places at the last stages of pupils competitions still happen.

Oleksandr Merezhko says that an open public discussion of the problem plays not the least role in the corruption surmounting. “Both students and teachers and university entrants should not fear to pronounce against bribery under the threat of losing their job or education”, O.Merezhko is sure. The rectorship terms limiting due to the principle “the less the best” should be one more effectuate and restraining step. Then the teacher would learn self-government and could create their own trade union, which would deal with the rights protection, and, the corruption problem, in particular.

Students are not angels as well

However, not only material abuse takes place and only from the teaching staff side. Experienced teachers say the student on his part also forms the morality and ethics in the educational process. The “immolations” start, for example, after an examined person is caught with a crib or any other “primary source”. According to the rules, one should put an “unsatisfactory” without a right for appellation or re-passing. It happens in different ways in practice. The head of the department of biophysics in the National Agrarian University Yury Posudin has gathered his own collection of students’ “ponies”. According to his observations, not only the methods of cheating, but also the ways of dealing with a teacher have changed during the last years. “One used a thin pen previously, putting tiny pieces of paper in the secret places. Now one uses both computer technique and mobile phones, Yury Ivanovych tells, but it’s all in vain — those who want to cheat or are going to cheat are seen at once by their eyes.”

The cribs do not decrease in number, however, despite all the teacher’s warning about the probable outcomes. While the examination period the corrupted “deals” are concluded through personal agreements. Thus another way of exams passing has developed: teachers, from other departments sometimes, or parents come to ask for the students. My child is good, so to say, don’t offend her/him. “however, if not to listen them, the number of such messengers falls, Y.Posudin explains. I always warn the students not to send anyone. Now, when they come, they explain that “the child” knows nothing of this.”

Life is movement

Oleksandr Tokhtamysh from B.Hrinchenko Kyiv Pedagogical University is of another opinion. He thinks that the Ukrainians are open to the Trypillia culture complex, so to say, ours is the best and we need nothing of else’s. “We have many possibilities to avoid corruption, O.Tochtamysh explains, it is worth of listening to what is happening in the world, to orient ourselves to the best experience, say of the western countries.”

For example, in the messengers’ case the person that solves anything, doesn’t hurry to call for the police, but answers properly: Do you want to help the university? OK, come in two-three days, and we will teach him something. In our community an opinion is spread, that corruption is everlasting, and it is impossible to get rid of it. But it is a most pessimistic opinion. For example, the lowering of the life standard also leads to corruption, thus, one should favor the general life standard improvement on a legislative level. “All the conflict participants should make an inner decision how to act, Oleksandr Tokhtamysh, Besides, there are formal and informal rules inside any collective. If these rules allow “to give” and “to take” — one should declare against them.”

The main thing in our community is not to sit with your hands folded, but to do something, because it is difficult to say which number is higher — of those who give and of those who take. It is the same difficult to go against the flow it’s always a risk to lose education or the status in the community or money. Bribery is the shortest, but not the best way to solve a problem. But speaking honestly, the victory will on the truth’s side, let it even be a moral one.

Olha Pokotylo, The Day