Comment Pieces

Corruption survey among college students throws up interesting results

Posted on May 08, 2017

I Paid a Bribe conducted workshops on retail corruption in four institutions; MES College of Management, Bishop Cotton Women’s Christian Law College, Mount Carmel and Presidency College. The target group  comprised students and teachers from a variety of disciplines. The workshops consisted of  presentations by   distinguished speakers viz.  Justice Santosh Hegde, Former Loka Ayukta, Karnataka; Shri SK Das IAS (Retd.),  former Secretary to Government of India and member,Governing Board, Janaagraha; and Advisors to I Paid A Bribe- Dr. Malati Das IAS (Retd.),, former Chief Secretary to the Government of Karnataka and Dr. ST Ramesh IPS (Retd.), former Director General and Inspector General of Police, Karnataka and the IPAB team. The agenda for these workshops include lectures, interactive discussions and audio-visual presentations.

An impact assessment was conducted among 754 students across these colleges before and after each workshop through a questionnaire. The results were revealing. According to the survey, 35% of the students had experience in dealing with government services or had knowledge of the same from their parents or relatives. Of these students, 58% “felt uncomfortable” in getting their work done in government offices. The two main reasons for the discomfort were  i) the feeling that they would have to run from pillar to post (41%) and ii) the anticipation of a demand for a bribe in government offices (20%).

The surveys after the workshops showed a significant shift in the response of students towards corruption and the number of students willing to fight it increased substantially.

While the non-acceptance of the bribe culture in general rose from 39% to 71%, after the workshops, there was a considerable increase  in the number of respondents not willing to pay a bribe whatever might be the situation (up from 22% to 47%).

 Before the workshop students were willing to complain against corruption but preferred to remain  anonymous. However, after the workshop, the percentage of those willing to be non-anonymous and take a stand against corruption rose from 19% to 23%.

Awareness programs in general have a short term impact, and an attitudinal change was noticed after the workshops, the key differentiator being the enthusiasm of the students and the overwhelming percentage of students (87%) who said that the programme helped them to stand up against bribe culture. While 47% felt that the workshops were a motivation, a large number of students (33%) also felt that citizens should collaborate to fight corruption.