Bribing bureaucrats in Bangladesh to face spotlight

Reuters July 18, 2012

Bangladesh is hoping to catch bureaucrats who take bribes by installing closed-circuit television cameras in key offices of its education ministry.

The country’s education system is plagued by teachers paying bribes to snag key posts, violent campus political rallies that have killed four students since January this year, and poorly-paid bureaucrats with little incentive to help taxpayers.

“The officers have to change their mindset and work as servants of the taxpayers,” Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said at a CCTV installation ceremony last week in the capital of Dhaka.

“A bad image has developed as people face harassment by some officials and employees (seeking bribes) to get work done.”

Public anger over inefficiency in the education ministry has boiled over with insiders saying requests for bribes had gone viral.

Bangladesh was ranked in the lower tiers of Transparency International’s 2011 corruption index.

“Corruption is widespread in the education sector,” an education ministry official said.

“The quality of education is falling though the percentage of students passing has increased.”

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