Nationwide Movement «Yuksalish» Mobilizes Public for Anti-Corruption Research
114 schools throughout the republic, including regional and district centers and rural areas, will be covered by anonymous corruption research within the framework of the joint project of the Nationwide Movement «Yuksalish», the Anti-Corruption Agency and the International Non-Governmental Organization «Regional Dialogue» (Slovenia).
This was reported at the presentation of the project «Establishment of the First Anti-Corruption Laboratories in Uzbekistan» within the framework of the National Festival of Civil Initiatives.
Emphasizing the importance of public participation in the fight against corruption, the Director of the Anti-Сorruption Agency Akmal Burkhanov noted that «Openness and transparency are most effective tools to combat corruption. The establishment of public oversight over public agencies would increase their accountability. The Anti-Corruption Agency supports all initiatives in this area, and stands ready to cooperate. Of course, the role of active citizens and organizations is important in accelerating the work begun in Uzbekistan in this direction».
The laboratories provide a scientific platform for identifying, analyzing and assessing corruption risks in various areas of public life. In view of the fact that the education system is recognized by the public as an area with a high level of corruption, which has seen an increase in corruption offences in recent years, it has been decided to conduct the first surveys in the education sector, specifically at the stage of admission to primary school.
The study, including a review and assessment of the situation, questionnaires and interviews, aims to identify the entire corruption chain in school enrolment, gaps in legislation, public attitudes and perceptions of corruption, and international experience. Initial interviews will be conducted with parents of first-graders, and primary school teachers.
Questionnaires and interviews take a special part in the survey. Given the sensitivity of the topic, questionnaires will not contain leading questions, the term «corruption», but will aim to reveal the degree of bad faith in the given category, public perception of corruption, its causes and consequences. It is very important to ensure that respondents do not feel intimidated or biased during the interviews, as the aim of the research is to draw as real a picture as possible for targeted interventions.
International experts, backed by many years of experience in conducting similar studies, have been already involved in the preparation of questionnaires, in line with the methodology and international standards that have already shown good results.
Goran Klemencic, Legal Expert of the INGO «Regional Dialogue», who provides expert support to the project on anti-corruption laboratories, and has been working on corruption-related issues for over 25 years, believes that “Effective treatment of a certain disease depends on the correct diagnosis. When misdiagnosed, doctors will not cure, but only harm, and waste resources. This finding applies to the fight against corruption. Therefore, to remedy any sector, it is first necessary to create an international methodology in order to know in which region and in which sector corruption exists. Next, we need to identify the problem, analyze it, draw conclusions, and only after that take effective measures».
In order to conduct interviews, a training session will be organized for the participants of the research to get instructions on how to carry out survey questionnaires and interviews on this complicated subject.
The data collected, analyzed and generalized will be presented in the form of a comprehensive report on corruption risks with recommendations for action to improve education. It is expected that the operation of such laboratories will be extended to other areas such as healthcare and construction.
Today, Uzbek society is responding painfully to corruption, heated social media debates continue, and a large number of volunteers have volunteered to participate in research on corruption. This shows that society is ready to make a change, and ready to participate. It is therefore expected that the public will be extensively engaged in the research and monitoring of the measures taken. The laboratories have already started their work.
As the Head of the Public Council of the Anti-Corruption Agency Akhtam Tursunov noted, «The studies should start in mahallas, in families, in order to study perception of corruption, level of bad faith, gaps/problems in cultivation of internal responsibility in the nearest environment, as well as in nursery schools, and in general schools».
For reference: the project «Establishment of the First Anti-Corruption Laboratories in Uzbekistan» has been initiated by the Nationwide Movement «Yuksalish» and is being implemented jointly with the Anti-Corruption Agency of the Republic of Uzbekistan with the support of an International Non-Governmental Organization «Regional Dialogue» (Slovenia). The project was launched in December 2020. Based on the results of the research, it is expected that the expert laboratories will work on a continuous basis and will be applied in different areas of life.
Manager of «Establishment of the First Anti-Corruption Laboratories in Uzbekistan» project