Table of Contents

Corruption, Grabbing and Development

Corruption, Grabbing and Development

Real World Challenges

Edited by Tina Søreide and Aled Williams

All societies develop their own norms about what is fair behaviour and what is not. Violations of these norms, including acts of corruption, can collectively be described as forms of ‘grabbing’. This unique volume addresses how grabbing hinders development at the sector level and in state administration. The contributors – researchers and practitioners who work on the ground in developing countries – present empirical data on the mechanisms at play and describe different types of unethical practices.

Chapter 4: Grabbing in the education sector

Muriel Poisson

Subjects: development studies, development studies, economics and finance, development economics, economic crime and corruption, law - academic, corruption and economic crime, politics and public policy, public policy


Grabbing in the education sector can take multiple forms, from the use of school premises for private purposes, to the capture of funds or resources aimed at constructing or equipping schools, or the collection of illegal fees from parents. Multiples cases demonstrate the effects of such practices on access, quality and equity issues. In the case of Pakistan, for instance, the existence of thousands of ghost schools (13000 according to the 2005 National Education Census, and 30000 according to media) automatically reduces educational opportunities for thousands of children (Save the Children UK, 2010). Similarly, the fact that a quarter of school equipment never reaches schools in Burkina Faso (26 per cent of school supplies, 24 per cent of didactic materials and 35 per cent of specific materials such as chalk, paper, rulers or glue in 2010ñ11) has a detrimental impact on the learning process (Oubda, 2013). Finally, the results of several tracking surveys prove that capture of funds between central and frontline service delivery levels is more likely to affect the poorest schools: in the case of Uganda, a 10 per cent increase in household income increased the amount of public funding reaching the school by 3 percentage points (Reinikka and Smith, 2004). The short-term effects of grabbing on policy priorities, on the quantity and quality of services provided, as well as on their costs and efficiency are very significant. However, their longer-term impact on global development remains to be fully assessed from different perspectives.

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