Corruption penetration into the Indian education system


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari M.A. (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Manjul Lata Agrawal. M.A. (History) B.T.

Former Principal S.K.V, Delhi Cantt. Delhi, India


Corruption has spread its roots in education system . Modern educational institutions have their primary emphasis on moneymaking and materialism instead on the concept of complete human development. Privatization of education, Teacher appointments, posting, transfer and stay at choice place, Teachers absenteeism form classes and Up-down, Private tutoring, Midday meal, Admission process, Examination process-cheating, unfair means act, practical examinations, result, Affiliation of institute, Student scholarship, fellowship, Purchasing and maintenances in institutes etc are many important means through corruption is clutching the Indian education system.

Keywords:   Privatization of education, Teachers absenteeism, Teacher appointments, Admission process, Affiliation of institute


In ancient India, the education was dedicated to achieve the highest ideals of complete human development that included physical, mental, spiritual development as well as leading to God-realization. On the other hand, modern educational institutions have their primary emphasis on moneymaking and materialism instead of concept of complete human development.  There was a time when corruption was only in Government offices, private institutions, police stations etc. but, now days, corruption has spread its roots in educational system also. Now schools are not a temple of education but they have become the shops of poor-quality education.

Corruption can be generally defined as the misuse of office for unofficial ends. Corrupt acts include but are not limited to bribery, extortion, influence peddling, nepotism, fraud, use of money to bribe government officials to take some specific favour, and embezzlement . Corruption in the education sector can be defined as “the systematic use of public office for private benefit, whose impact is significant on the availability and quality of educational goods and services as a consequence on access, quality or equity in education” “Corruption is a major drain on the effective use of resources for education and should be drastically curbed”

Education System in India currently represents a vast contradiction. There are many institutes like IITs, IIMs, AIIMS, BITS, CSIR, Space Research and Atomic Energy Commission that rank among the best institutes in the world and on the contrary, most of the institutes in the country do not even have the minimum basic infrastructure .In the recent times, many Indian educational institutes are under the clutches of corruption cases. MCI, AICTE, UGC etc which are regulatory or monitoring bodies of Indian educational system are also involved in corruption cases. Corruption is grasping the Indian education system and what are the most important means through which corruption is clutching the education system and their impacts on society. Privatization, Teacher appointments, posting, transfer and stay at choice place, Teachers absenteeism form classes and Up-down, Private tutoring, Midday meal, Construction of building of Hall or Classrooms in SSA, Admission process, Examination process cheating, unfair means act, practical examinations, result, Affiliation of institute, State and local politics, Old examination policy, Fake and money maker institutes, Harassment of research scholar, Declining ethical values, Student scholarship-sc/st, minorities, fellowship, Purchasing and maintenances of institutes etc are many important areas where corruption is clutching the Indian education system.

Affiliation of Institute

All the educational institutes are governed by regulatory bodies like UGC, AICTE, MCI etc. These governing bodies form rules, regulations and guideline from time to time to regulate the functioning of educational institutes. Presently many education institutions do not fulfill eligibility criteria of affiliation to these regulatory bodies because they do not have minimum teaching and non-teaching staff, laboratory, and equipments as prescribed by the regulatory body, even they do not fulfill minimum demands of basic facilities for essentials like water, electricity, ventilation, toilets, sewerage etc. however many corrupt private institutes have been affiliated without following rules, regulations and guidelines of the statutory/ regulatory bodies by means of bribery, nepotism or favoritism.


Privatization of Education – Making shops of poor-quality education

Privatization of education has emerged in several forms in the recent decade in India. Government has allowed to opens self-financing private institutions with recognition, which may be termed as commercial private education institutions. Many private institutions have started courses on many discipline without basic infrastructure and qualified teaching faculties . Similarly mushrooming and practices have been noted in engineering, medical, nursing, pharmacy and management discipline and faculties in many private institutions are compelled to sign on affidavit that they are being paid as per UGC scale, although they are not even paid half of what is recommended by the government Recently in the deemed university status swindle, the status was granted with a massive violation of the University Grant Commission rules with nepotism type of corruption. . Recently the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) found that at least half-a-dozen of them were operating from buildings that house other colleges of different streams including nursing, B. Ed and even schools. Besides, it was found that in records, the address of some colleges is elsewhere, while they are situated at a different location .

The MBBS seats sold in lakhs of rupees by private colleges . The scam gets bigger as the post graduate in medical field that are necessary for a successful career. The price for a postgraduate seats in most leading private colleges across the country is in crores of rupees.

The uncontrolled growth of private education especially in engineering, medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy and management disciplines created a huge unwaged youth and the professional degrees are made into a commodity and are being sold . Due to the mechanical and pragmatic process the private institutes are unable to produce a complete ‘human capital’ with ethical standards. On the contrary every year they are producing thousands of money minded machines and India has the world’s largest number of unskilled, untrained and unpaid professionals .

Admission Process-

Mostly colleges and schools organize Entrance Test for admissions in India. All corrupt educational institutes have started making money through entrance exams. Many coaching institutes are making money in the name of preparation of these entrance examinations. On the other hand most Indian education institutes whether they are college or schools, get donation for admission in their institutes under the name of management seats quota. They are abusing the noble word “donation” to get bribes for the admissions. These institutes also conduct their own entrance test and take admissions according to their own interest. Many students have ability to perform their best but this educational privatization is indirectly depriving the child from taking education. Many reputed institutions demand very high charges for admission fees and hostel fees, saying that this is management quota fee. Talented students or backward class student try to take loans which again create a problem for them. This problem makes their life worse and some who do not find a way out of this problem often ends their life.

Teacher Appointments, Posting, Transfer and stay at choice place-

There was a time when an entire generation of dedicated teachers was present in India, which was motivated by ideals and principles that were embedded in the social value system. The number of such teachers has substantially declined due to the corruption and political interference involved in teachers recruitment and transfer. The policy relating to recruitment, promotion and transfer of teachers in the education system are yet not formed in many states and thus the human resource management in education is not well organized in India. Teachers are always afraid regarding their appointment and transfers. Sometimes teachers pay bribe for their posting and transfers. Mostly Political leaders, high-level bureaucrats and members of the teacher unions also attempt to influence decision-making regarding the recruitment and transfer of teachers. Favoritism, nepotism and bribes are major types of corruption in teacher’s appointment, posting, transfer and stay at a choice place. Finally the moral and ethical commitment of teachers has gradually decreased over the years due to political interference and corruption.

Teachers Absenteeism -

Teacher absenteeism is one of the most serious forms of education corruption, because it appears to be pervasive, it has a lasting effect on students, and it constitutes a large burden on the education budget .The UNESCO’s International Institute of Educational Planning study on corruption in education state that there is 25% teacher absenteeism in India which is among the highest in the world. In Bihar two of every five teachers were reported absent, the figure in UP was reported to be one-third of the total teachers. Ghost Teacher does not just affect quality of education but it is also a huge drain on resources resulting in the wastage of education funds of India.  According to a professor at National University for Education Planning and Administration, “Politics in teacher appointments and transfers is a major reason for teacher absenteeism.” In the teaching profession, most of the teachers are women and their responsibilities are multitasking. Indian women are heartily devoted to their family. If their posting is far away from their family, then the line of work definitely effects. They do not work efficiently and successfully. This is the major reason of teacher’s absenteeism. Mostly teachers are posted in rural areas who do not live in villages with their family, so they settle their family in city areas and go daily to their posting places. This daily up and down tendency also affects their efficiency. In India, where teacher absenteeism is 25 percent on average, only about 8–10 percent of teacher absence can be attributed to annual leave, medical leave, and other officially sanctioned reasons for absenteeism

Certainly, not all teacher absences are indications of corruption; but all absences have a negative impact on student learning.

Examination malpractices -Cheating, Use of unfair means, Practical examinations –

Examinations are the best tool for an objective assessment and evaluation of students, but different kind of malpractices are prevailing in the examination process i.e. unfair means activity, cheating, favoritism in internal assessment or in practical examinations and bribery in result preparations. Examination malpractice is defined as an irregular behavior exhibited by a candidate or anybody, during or after the examination that contravenes the rules and regulations governing the conduct of such examination .

Examination malpractice can also be defined as a deliberate wrong activity by anybody contrary to examination rules with favoritism to any candidate. Some institutes have given ninety to hundred percent marks in internal assessment or practical examinations; however mostly students copy from previous student’s records or books in these examinations. These institutions are always engaged in welcoming of external examiners and never give fair attention to conduct examination in proper manner. Many institutes give Valuable gifts to external examiners through collection made by students after completion of examination. This does not only make the students lazy and corrupt but also suppress their talent. Many times students give bribe in the form of big donation to the teachers and other authorities and get the degree without doing well in the examination from corrupted educational institutes. So examination malpractice is also a kind of corruption in India.

Student Scholarship

The student scholarship system in India suffers highly from corruption and fake nominees poses great threat to the eligible candidates and causes delay and loss in scholarship money. The lack of coordination with Technical Education Department and failure of control by the District Officers of Social Justice and Empowerment department led to payment of fraudulent claims . Schools charged  lakhs worth of scholarship money which was obtained by these schools in the name of students who did not exist .

Midday Meal

The Midday Meal Scheme has been launched in school; it involves provision of free lunch on working days. The main objective of this programme is protecting children from malnutrition, increasing school enrollment and attendance, improved socialization among children belonging to all castes, and social empowerment through provision of employment to women. But with achievement of above objectives, many scams also have been finding place since it was started. The problems started intensifying right from the beginning of scheme. The head of gram panchayat and headmaster shared the responsibility for the same however, the shared responsibility turned into sharing of the funds. The quality of food provided to children was far from being a balanced diet, many times midday meal consists of poor-quality eatables, often insufficient and tasteless.

Private Tuitions –

The curriculum of schools and colleges should be so designed as to pay attention on the overall development of students. It should be emphasized to aim at wide range of goals that may include the development of sporting sprit and sense of music, as well as promotion of courtesy, civic awareness and national pride with academic interests . However in present time, most of curriculums gives more emphasis on academic section which do not fulfill the overall development of the students. Students take private tuitions to complete their syllabus and shrink the overall development of them as in the evening they spend their time in studies instead they should play with their friends and participate in extracurricular activities or spend time with their families. Private tuition institutes are of low intellectual value. It is dominated by memorized answers of past question papers and tips on likely questions to pass the students in their exams. The impact of private teaching is that it causes damage to the student’s overall development and innovative thinking. Private tuition is corrupting the education system because most of the tutors are the mainstream teachers and teaching the students in their schools which destroy the honorable place of the teachers. They are not teaching in the school times. So the tutors are not preparing the students for their future but they are using them as an income source. Private tuitions also increase social inequalities, because it is easily available to the rich than to the poorer. Immediate steps must be taken to eradicate this serious problem as it is harmful to the career of the young children of our nation .

A bird’s Eye View

Corruption can be found at micro, meso and macro level in the education sector in India. Corruption based on magnitude can also be differentiated between ‘grand’ and ‘petty’ corruption, where grand corruption involves high-level officials and politicians for example fraud in public tendering for school building or textbook publication. It usually has a high economic impact. Whereas Illegal fees paid by parents to school to get their children admitted, or to pass their exams are some of the examples of Petty corruption. However, it usually has a limited economic impact, but it can have a severe social impact . The economic impact is higher when corruption involves large government purchases, but the number of people affected is much greater when corruption involves education services.

Corruption in the education system shakes the confidence and reduces the ability and willingness of wide parts of society to become involved in democratic processes . Corrupt practices in the education system have declined the ethical values among students and shatter confidence in the quality and quantities of the education system. When youngsters become familiar with corrupt practices in education system and see that personal success depends not on performance but on bribery, favoritism and nepotism, then they develop unethical behavior, which is passing to next generation in a rapid way.

Corruption is frequently found in recruitment, transfers, posting, promotion, stay at choice places and mostly absent from teaching places. In India, many times recruitment, appointment are not based on the performance but bribe, family links, allegiance with political parties, religious, caste play a major role. Mostly teachers have an association with political parties and thus after elections, transfers are done on the basis of their affiliation with political parties. Teacher absent from the classrooms are favored from the political leaders because they help them in elections. For the prevention of above type of corruption, there is a need of monitoring and evaluation system that should be based on regular achievement by teachers and be related with result of students. Consultancy services can also be hired for the development of criteria and standardization of recruitment, appointments and promotions, also for the development of performance of teachers via training courses, and enforcement of teacher’s code of conducts .

To reduce the rate of absenteeism from classrooms, incentives should be given to regular working, and demoralized those habitual absent from classrooms via parent associations and school administrations. Corruption at the admission level can be controlled through a centralized and online admission process, which may be controlled by state or university level. These committees can organize entrance examination for the admission at state level or through common merit list.

Corruption in examination can be controlled by encoding the identity of examiners and examinees in written examinations for awarding marks. Code of conduct should be reviewed for the students to control unfair means activities in examinations. Unfair means act needs review because courts take time to make decision, which not only causes delay in punishment to students but also puzzle a teacher to file a case or not for unfair means, because teachers are mostly soft hearted and avoid to court cases. Many times teachers feel that court punishment can destroy student career and they free the student with only warning.

There is need for major changes in educational institutes. At present all the management and administration services of these institutes are maintained by the principal alone with help of some clerks.  Principals also use teachers in management and administration of institutes. It is a fact that educational institutes cannot run without teacher’s supports because teachers better know the institute’s atmosphere. Teachers are mostly busy in admissions, scrutiny of examination form, student union election, examination works etc, but these management activities result in loss of academic session of students. There is a need to free teachers from these administrational and management duties and all the management work of educational institutes should be done by professionals as is being done in private hospitals. Institutes should run with the full recommendations of teachers and professionals support as well as with organized facilities for students and teachers. Teachers should always be mentally and physically free for teaching in the classrooms, not for distribution of scholarship, examination form, and maintenance of school buildings.  It can be a good idea to privatize or outsource certain services, such as the maintenance of school buildings, preparationof school meals, school transport systems, etc. To ensure that the privatization of services does not open the door to new corruption, the procedure and policies behind the privatization procedure must be carefully devised and rendered “watertight” in this regard.



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