The informal payments made annually by parents to general education schools come to 782.5 million lei. It is estimated that the parents pay the largest sums for individual lessons at the school or outside it, 332.6m lei, for additional books and notebooks, about 232.8 million lei. The other payments go for presents to teachers, for school events, for sports activities, etc. The lowest costs are incurred for exams and higher grades, shows the sociological survey “Ethics and academic integrity in general education. Informal payments in schools” that was carried out by the Institute for Public Policy (IPP).
In a news conference at IPN, Arcadie Barbăroşie, executive director of the Institute for Public Policy, said the project is part of a series of projects carried out during many years with financial support from Soros Foundation Moldova. The project is designed to satisfy the interests of schools and communities of children and parents and to identify the needs of children, parents and teachers of these schools.
IPP programs director Anatol Gremalschi said the coming into force of the Teacher’s Code of Ethics in 2015 led to a significant decline in the involvement of school employees in the process of collecting informal payments. These activities were undertaken by different “funds”, such as the funds of parent associations, schools and classes.
Director of the Center of Sociological Investigations and Marketing “CBS-Research” Vasile Cantraji underlined that the pandemic situation that led to the replacement of the data collection method can involve significant statistical differences compared with the previous polls. “We had to assume this risk given the pandemic. I want to noted that the data were collected at the end of May, when, even if the state of emergency was lifted and there were no formal reasons preventing us from collecting data on the spot, for reasons related to the security of the respondents and interviewers, we decided to change the method and to collect data on the phone this time,” stated Vasile Cantraji.
According to the poll, the average costs of a family with children of school age are of about 5,907 lei a month. Of these, 968 lei was intended for education. The given costs include both formal payments (clothes, uniform, training suit, textbooks, school supplies, etc.) and informal payments (different “funds”, presents for teachers, higher grades, repair works, foundations, associations, school committees etc.). Against the 13,247 lei allocated annually by the state for a student, the education-related costs incurred by parents represent 87.7%. The parents contribute almost 90 bani for each 1 leu allocated by the state.
About 35% of the parents said the payments they make to schools are a financial burden for their families. Approximately 37% of the respondents said these payments are an acceptable sum for them.
According to the survey authors, the significant diminution of the phenomenon of informal payments in schools should be ensured by stepping up school inspections, objective assessments, admission exams at universities, etc. and also by promoting academic ethics and integrity within parent organizations.
The survey was carried out in the summer of 2020 and covered a sample of 1,100 respondents. The full study can be seen on www.ipp.md.