Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2017, 5, *-*
ISSN Online: 2327-5960
ISSN Print: 2327-5952
DOI: 10.4236/***.2017.***** **** **, 2017
Corruption in Schools and Universities
Simon Thuranira Taaliu
School of Education and Social Sciences, University of Embu, Embu, Kenya
In Kenya, corruption is one of the social problems which permeate
of the economy including education. There is alleged corruption in forms of
recruitment, promotion, transfer and deployment of teachers. In schools, both
primary and secondary, there is corruption in recruitment of student in form
one (especially in the prestigious national secondary schools), supply of mat
rials to the schools, national examination cheating. At the universities,
same repeats itself in form of tribalism and ethnicity in employment, prom
tion and recruitment of students. Thi
s state of affairs has led to major reforms
being made by the Ministry of Education in Kenya lead by the Cabinet Secr
tary Dr. Fred Matiang’i. Some of the recommendations include empowering
the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), vetting of Princ
and Head teachers, and commitment on the side of the Government to fight
Corruption, Education, Schools, University, Kenya
This paper illuminates on the issue of corruption the education sector in Kenya
and the different ways in which the government has endeavored to tackle the
problem. One of the most disturbing problems facing the development of educa-
tion in Kenya and across Sub-Saharan Africa is corruption. The Teachers Service
Commission (TSC) has been ranked as one of most corrupt government agency
after the Kenya Police for many years. Corruption is widespread in other areas
but it seems more rampant in education because of the number of teachers in-
volved. It was hoped with the new constitution August 2010, corruption would
be tackled but nothing much has been achieved yet (Taaliu 2010) . This article
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S. T. Taaliu
articulates the causes of corruption in Kenyan schools and Universities and also
examines different approaches to curbing this problem. The article recommends
a multi-facetted approach to tackling the issue of corruption which does not af-
fect education but also other sectors of the economy in Kenya.
2. Corruption in Schools and Universities in Kenya
Corruption has very long lasting consequences because resources are wasted,
young people are denied the education they should receive, and those unable to
afford bribes are denied access to schooling (both primary and secondary educa-
tion). A generation of students comes to believe that personal effort and merit
do not count and that success comes through manipulation, favoritism, and bri-
bery (Chapman 1994) .
2.2. Causes of Corruption in Schools and Universities
2.2.1 Admission to schools and Colleges/Universities
Starting with national exams, it has been found out that there has been a lot
cheating. This was exemplified by the results of both Kenya Certificate of Pri-
mary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE)
of 2016 where there was drastic reduction of the number of students scoring
grade A, due to good supervision of the exams. This means all along there has
been a lot of cheating going on in both the exams in public and private schools.
In Kenya, due to the importance attached to admission to prestigious High
Schools and Universities, there is a lot of interest in the school a student is ad-
mitted in form one. Many parents go all the way in bribing the principals of the
national schools for vacancies in these schools. Admission to these national high
schools have been seen as a guarantee to admission to a public University which
are viewed to be more prestigious than the private ones. Some of the principals
of the National schools are coerced by senior government officials to give them
admission letters to form one and other classes in their schools through threats
and undue influence. Some principals will not hesitate to admit children of rela-
tives, clansmen, tribesmen and therefore fanning corruption and nepotism in the
schools (Chapman 1994) .
At the universities, recent reports have indicated that some of the public and
private universities have been admitting students for degree programmes with-
out the required minimum of C+ mean grade at Kenya Certificate of Secondary
Education (KSCE). More so politicians have been admitted without meeting the
minimum requirements. Some of these politicians do not attend lectures and
they pay other students to do the academic work for them.
2.2.2. Academic Dishonesty
Some of these politicians do not attend lectures and they pay other students to
do the academic work for them. Apart from politicians, there are other Kenyans,
like busy CEOs, Principals of high schools and other senior people who enroll in
S. T. Taaliu
the universities but because of the nature of their jobs they have not time to at-
tend lectures and write papers. They therefore pay other people to write theses
for them. Many universities which are not keen during defence are duped that
this work belongs to the people presenting it. At the universities also there has
been the sub-culture of sex for grades. This is where by students offer sexual fa-
vours to lecturers to award them good marks. Sometimes the male students pay
for good grades through monetary values because they are not able to offer sex-
ual favours especially to the predominantly male lecturers.
2.2.3. Recruitment and Promotion of Staff
Promotion of Staff in both schools and universities is done on merit in most
cases, but there are cases of ethnicity, nepotism and corruption. The Teachers
Service Commission (TSC)  is charged with the responsibility of recruiting,
disciplining, promotion and deployment of teachers. These processes are mired
in corruption and nepotism all the way from the school board of management
which recruits teachers on behalf of TSC. Most of the teachers recruited are from
that county where the school is located, leaving very little room in outsiders be-
ing recruited. The reason is that all the Board members are drawn from within
the locality and naturally they favor one of their won to be recruited at the ex-
pense of people from outside the county or even the sub-county. In the universi-
ties it is no different. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission led by
Francis Ole Kaparohas been on these cases but no progress has been done in
terms of prosecuting the culprits.
2.2.4. Transfer of Teachers
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has devolved some functions like
transfers of teachers to the County the Teachers Service Commission Director.
This was previously done by TSC headquarters, but now it’s like the corruption
has been devolved to the counties. For teachers to be transferred from one
school to another, they have to part with some money. This is silently done, be-
cause the giver and the taker of the bribe knows he/she is guilty so they would
not like to disclose it. Promotions also are done through interviews, but these are
just rubber stamps because you will find a school being headed by diploma
holder when there are PhD holders in the same staff room.
2.2.5. Supply of Materials
Many tenders in schools are issued through public tendering. This is the ideal
situation, but it does not happen all the time. Most of the schools especially sec-
ondary schools, the tenders of supplying materials are given to cronies or proxies
of the principals and chairpersons of the Board of Management of the schools.
This is done in complete breech of public procurement tendering procedure
which spells out conflict of interests in the tendering process.
The Ministry of Education has set the minimum and maximum fees to be paid
by students in both primary and secondary schools. Many principals of high
S. T. Taaliu
school have continued to charge more than the recommended fee. Some of the
schools have hidden charges which are not included in the official receipts. Some
of these hidden charges include tuition fees which has been outlawed by the
government but with continue to be levied by most schools.
2.2.7. Moral Corruption
In most of the schools there is a silent moral decay. This decay is in form of sex-
ual relationships between students and teachers. Some of these cases become
known to authorities and disciplinary procedure are instituted but at the end of
it all the culprits are released and find their way back to the schools. In some in-
stances, the victims’ family settle the cases out court, where the amorous teachers
are asked to pay fines to the girls’ family or marry her.
2.2.8. Absentee Teachers
Many teachers in both primary and secondary schools are chronically absent
from schools. Head teachers fail to take measures, because some of the teachers
will corrupt their way back to schools even if they are found guilty of being away
from school without permission. In some of the schools teachers are found to be
engaged in businesses during school time and at the expense of their work.
Academic dishonesty can be checked by the universities being very strict espe-
cially by using the anti-plagiarism software which can detect work which does
not belong to someone. The universities should stick to the admission criteria
and the Commission for University Education should carry its own full mandate
of inspecting the universities both private and public.
According to Transparency International Kenya (TI-K)  education is key in
preventing corruption, and that education in good governance, ethics and inte-
grity for students in schools can help break the cycle of corruption and prepare
them for future leadership. Against this background TI-K has initiated integrity
clubs for students in ethical and integrity learning in schools. TI-Kenya has
supported and strengthened activities of 80 integrity clubs across three counties
in the review period; 30 in Trans Nzoia County, 29 in Kisumu County, and 21 in
Kwale County. Across the three counties, integrity clubs have contributed to
improved discipline and responsiveness among the learners (TI-K p.27).
Just as high cadre police officers are being vetted today in Kenya, even prin-
cipals of high schools should be vetted to determine their suitability. Their life
styles should be audited to establish the source of their wealth. Many of the prin-
cipals live luxurious lives, which is are far beyond their earnings. The Ministry of
Education and the Government of Kenya should set up an Oversight Commis-
sion like the Police Oversight Committee one to investigate cases of abuse of of-
fice by school principals.
The TSC should endeavor to make sure that principals do not overstay in one
schools for long. There has been instances where a principal starts as a student
on teaching practice, he/she is employed in the same school, promoted to a head
S. T. Taaliu
of department, deputy principal and retires in the same school as the principal.
This is career spanning over 40 years in the same school!
The ministry of Education should ensure the guidelines on fees are followed
by the schools. Most parents have no option when asked to pay the extra fees
because if they fail their children are sent away from school. The Dr. Kilemi
Mwiria’s recommendations on fees guidelines need to be implemented in the
schools to be able to achieve a level playing ground to all students and parents.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) should be given more
powers to prosecute cases and the Judiciary to jail people found involved in cor-
rupt deals. The Judiciary should also work independently without the Executive
undue influence in the judgements.
The issue of corruption in Kenya is endemic in that it is very widespread to al-
most all sectors of the economy. There seems to be lack of commitment from the
government to fight corruption, because even with government units like Ethics
and Anti-Corruption Commission of Kenya (EACC) very little seem to have
been achieved. There is need for commitment from the top to fight corruption
without which the ordinary Kenyan does not see anything wrong in giving and
receiving of bribes.
 Taaliu, S.T. (2011) Perspectives on the Teaching Profession in Kenya: Perception,
Status, and Job (Dis) Satisfaction. Lambert Academic Publishers, Germany.
 Chapman, D.W. (1994) Reducing Teacher Absenteeism and Attrition: Causes, Con-
sequences and Responses. UNESCO, IIEP, Paris.
 (2003) Stealing an Education: Corruption in Education. University of Minnesota,
 Teachers Service Commission (TSC) (2017) https://www.tsc.go.ke/
 Transparency International (2015) Promoting Integrity in Schools.