A Tajik farmer takes cabbage to the market in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Corruption undermines education in Central Asia.

Good Grades for Sale

January 2010, Number 01.01

“Jovid always dreamed of becoming a police officer, but now he finds himself taking exams to become a tax collector.

“My family couldn’t afford the amount of bribe we would have had to pay to get a place at the police academy,” the 18-year-old high-school graduate said. Seeking to ensure an affordable future for their son, his parents — farmers in Tajikistan’s northern Maschoh region — instead paid a $1,000 bribe to ensure their son could enroll to study tax law at a Tajik finance university.

“We had to sell several of our cattle to raise the money,” Jovid said. “The rest we borrowed from relatives. We didn’t have any other choice. I wish it was possible to enter the university with my knowledge, but things don’t work like that here.”

Jovid said the money went to middlemen, who promised to pass it on to the professors who make enrollment decisions based on exam results. But it is a common practice throughout Central Asia, where people say it is a fact of life most university entrants must pay bribes to enroll in institutions of higher education...”

Excerpt from per Concordiam Staff, “Good Grades for Sale,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 1, No. 1, 2010: 58-59.

Farangis Najibullah is a correspondent for Radio Free Europe who reports on a wide range of topics from Central Asia.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.