Under the general topic of graft, school corruption is a well-recognized sub-genre.
In Vietnam, where schoolhouse bribery is ‘an open secret,’ twenty-two teachers and staff recently received written warnings at the Hanoi University of Agriculture. They inflated the grades of 180 students in return for special payments.
‘Bribery in exams makes students lazy,’ said Nguyen Quoc Binh, principal of the Vietnam-German High School in Hanoi. ‘They don’t have real knowledge, so after graduating, they need to be retrained or to change jobs, which causes a waste of resources for society.’
Even high-ranking government officials reportedly bribe teachers at top universities.
‘I know some officials buy doctorates through fraudulent exams and by giving teachers money,’ said anti-corruption activist Le Hien Duc.
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In South Korea last year, a teacher at an elementary school in a wealthy neighborhood was arrested for accepting bribes from parents.
The Bundang Police Station in Gyeonggi-do said 45-year old Ms. B, a first-grade teacher, took $9,200 in gifts from 14 parents over a two and a half year period, including a Louis Vuitton handbag worth $1,100.
She also took cashier’s checks from parents of students in her class.
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In the USA, the state of Alabama issued guidelines to help parents and teachers avoid bribery at Christmas time.
Teachers accepting some gifts face jail and a $6,000 fine.
The Alabama Ethics Commission released guidelines that apply to all public employees. But teachers are singled out.
‘The suggestion that it is harmless for a school child to give a Christmas gift to their teacher ignores the potential for abuse,’ wrote commission chairman Braxton L. Kittrell Jr. in a 26-page statement.
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In Italy, nine people were arrested in the province of Latina near Rome for allegedly demanding regalini (little gifts) in return for boosting grades of students in professional qualifying exams.
The investigation was triggered when people noticed a few school principals and administrators wearing an unusual amount of pearls and gold bracelets, and taking expensive holidays abroad.
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A story from Kyrgyzstan said parents of secondary school students were complaining that their children were asking for money to be passed on to teachers.
‘I have to find money to give to my teacher, my father cannot understand that I have to pay,’ said Aziz, a 16-year-old schoolboy in the Alamedin district of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.
‘Officially there is no practice of bribes in schools,’ according to Irinia Skosyrskaya, the deputy chair of Bishkek city education department. ‘When there are claims that teachers have broken the rules, we punish them. . . If teachers take bribes, law-enforcement agencies should deal with it,’ she said.