Research and policy agenda for anti-corruption efforts in the education sector

Blockchain technology for education

Blockchain is set to revolutionise – not just currencies – but the management of educational institutions. It is based on a self-checking network that is radically transparent and cannot be corrupted. Blockchain can securely and permanently store all records, issue reliable certificates and awards, transfer credits and keep track of learning achievements across a whole lifetime. For more information, read the 2017 European Commission report on Blockchain in edcuation (PDF).

Public-private partnerships for education: implications for transparency and accountability

Are public-private partnerships the way forward to ensuring universal access to education for all in line with the Sustainable Development Goals? Controversy over Bridge International Academies in East Africa shows that franchise low cost private schools could improve learning outcomes. However, in Uganda, they were operating without proper licences, using unlicensed teachers and located in shabby facilities. This prompted a High Court ban on their operations. The associated costs – despite being low – have led to questions about whether they improve or worsen access to education.

Despite skepticism in East Africa, Bridge International Academies have been successful in Liberia. They run over 500 schools and educate over 100,000 children. They hope to educate 10,000,000 pupils across 12 or more countries by 2025. They currently operate in Uganda, Kenya, India, Liberia and Nigeria. Bridge International Academies are backed by Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, and see themselves as pioneers in using technology to improve education quality and access for the people living in poverty. They prohibit corporal punishment, which is still widespread in many developing countries despite laws against it. As leading innovators in the sector, what lessons does the Bridge model have for anti-corruption, ethics and integrity in schools? What does it imply for accountability when the private sector increasingly takes over public functions such as primary education?