This paper is focused on educational corruption in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, and its implications for peace, development and progress in the 21st century. It attempts to explain the types of corruption which takes place within the tertiary institutions in Nigeria and the resultant effects, not only on the Nigerian educational system, but on the world as a whole. For its methodology and guideline the paper adopts the elite theory as its theoretical framework of analysis. The discussion gives insights into the following areas: (i) why the country continues to spend money on running the tertiary institutions instead of genuinely investing in the development of these institutions; (ii) why our tertiary institutions, stunted by corruption, are almost doomed; (iii) why there is fall in standards and why our academic certificates are becoming worthless before the international community. In order to prevent, control and possibly eradicate this cancerous evil, the paper lists some vital factors which when effectively implemented will not only solve the problems but will enhance global peace, development and progress.
Today, our tertiary institutions which include Universities, Polytechnics, Monotechnics, Schools of Nursing and Health Technologies, Nigerian Defence Academy, and Colleges of Education appear not to be functioning effectively. There are cases of students being exploited by staff; recruitment and promotion of staff being based on political patronage instead of merit. There are cases of abuse of office by those in authority. Other vices include: admission racketeering, hostel profiteering, sorting, examination malpractice, sexual harassment, etc. All these social vices are signs of a big rot in our tertiary institutions and portend danger for the entire Nigerian nation. It shows absolute lack of credibility in our tertiary institutions’ service delivery (Okobi, 1997). This is worrisome and it is only when credibility is restored in the tertiary education sector that the tertiary institutions will stop turning out clever devils who are corrupt and move about in society as educated elites (Ezeani, 2005).
Corrupt practices in our tertiary institutions have far-reaching consequences. For one, it jeopardizes the provision of qualitative education for the citizenry. This is because unqualified personnel and quacks would find their way into the system. Again, it leads to fall in tertiary education standard. This is because illiterates are daily being produced while our certificates are received with contempt by the international community.
Meaning of Educational Corruption
For a better understanding of educational corruption, an understanding of the term corruption is necessary. The word corruption is derived from the Latin word ‘corruptio’, which means ‘to decay’, ‘to rot’, or ‘to degenerate’. It also means breaking of certain codes of conducts for the personal benefit of the perpetrators. Odoba and Elijah (2007) define it as a deliberate and conscious deviation and violation of rules, norms, and cherished values of society by someone or group of persons occupying position(s) of trust because of inordinate desire for power, wealth and recognition. Garner (2013) however defines corruption in two different ways: First, corruption means depravity, perversion or taint, an impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle, especially the impairment of a public official’s duties by bribery. Secondly, corruption is defined as the act of doing something with an intent to give some advantage inconsistent with official duty and the right of others; a fiduciary or official’s use of station or office to produce some benefit either personally or for someone else, contrary to the right of others.
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