Corruption is a prevalent problem in Serbia, with two sectors – health and education – vital for development of the country, in continuous need of support. This has been recognized in the 2013 EU Progress Report for Serbia, which has once again, outlined that “health and education remain particularly vulnerable to corruption”.
As a part of the global GAIN initiative, Innovation against Corruption in Serbia targets specifically these two areas – health and education, identified by the National Anticorruption Strategy and EU Progress Reports. Since 2014 UNDP Serbia in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Justice has been leading an intensive campaign to fight against corruption in the sector and introduced a few innovative tools, such as:
- A C2C (citizen to citizen) SMS system for reporting corruption in the health sector;
- Citizens’ charters in health institutions; and
- An anticorruption legal clinic providing free legal aid to victims of corruption at the Law School of the University of Belgrade.
These tools were coupled with training of advisors on patients’ rights, healthcare officials and staff and follow up on concrete cases.
Based on initial results in the health sector, UNDP embarked with a social accountability approach in the education sector as of 2014, managing to support the establishment of an innovative anticorruption legal clinic at the Law School of the University of Belgrade providing free legal aid to victims of corruption. The Law School managed to enroll a second generation of students into the legal clinic, started providing free legal aid to clients and based on initial success, allocated further resources for its sustainability beyond the project duration.
Using the 2012 OECD survey as a baseline, an integrity assessment of the education sector in Serbia was conducted. It provided an inventory of integrity violations, issues and possible responses, which the Ministry of Education started to integrate in its policy plans. Finally, UNDP supported the national anticorruption coordination authority – the Ministry of Justice, with an overview of implementation of the National Anticorruption Strategy and Action Plan, with focus on the Health and Education sector. The overview is being used by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia in advancing the implementation of pending measures, the results of which are yet to be recorded in the medium term.
As shown below, this resulted in the improvement of perceptions of corruption in these sectors, as measured through an anticorruption benchmarking survey with the number of those polled who believe healthcare is corrupt declining by 11 percentage points and a ten-percentage-point drop relative to 2014 in the number of those polled who see education as prone to corruption:
- 2015: Education 43%, Healthcare 59%
- 2014: Education 53%, Healthcare 70%
- 2013: Education 50%, Healthcare 71%.
- The solution can be implemented in other countries with similar healthcare and education systems.
Partners: the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, the Anti-corruption Agency of the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia
Contact person: Jelena Manic