Corruption in Education: A Global Legal Challenge

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Corruption in Education: A Global Legal Challenge
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Corruption in Education: A Global Legal Challenge

Vincent R. Johnson

48 Santa Clara L. Rev. 1 (2008).

    In every educational institution, in every country and generation, there is a struggle between corrupt practices and the continuing quest for high ethical standards.  An educational institution is poorer if its members engage in corrupt practices.  Such misfeasance wastes limited resources, demoralizes participants, and adversely affects productivity.  The nature of this corruption is multi-faceted, and observes no geographic boundaries.  It exists in every culture.

In some of these cases, educational corruption can be quite subtle.  This is true where conduct that is neither criminal, fraudulent, nor a breach of fiduciary duty nevertheless undercuts the moral foundations of the educational enterprise.  For example, if academic honors are conferred based not on merit, but on political loyalty, the process is arguably corrupt.  When incidents such as this happen, the educational enterprise is diminished in a very real sense.

    In order to combat these pernicious practices, there are certain basic principles that should shape efforts to deter, expose, and penalize corruption in academic institutions.  Once thoroughly considered and understood, these principles can be translated into “best practices” that can be followed by educational enterprises aspiring to high ethical standards, and used to evaluate and condemn ethically unacceptable practices of recurring importance.

Keywords: higher education, educational corruption, corrupt practices, ethical standards, educational institutions, intellectual integrity, institutional corruption, individual corruption, criminal conduct, tortious conduct, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, intellectual honesty, cheating, ethical codes, plagiarism, ethical conduct, codes of conduct, improper economic benefit, financial corruption.

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