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Sociologist of law on anticorruption assignment in Central Asia

Patrik Olsson at a conference in Uzbekistan, February 2020. Photo: Private

In the end of February, Patrik Olsson, associate professor at Lund University visited Uzbekistan to discuss one of the main academic problems in the area.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO) of the Republic of Uzbekistan were among the main organizers behind the conference ”Higher Education – a Sphere without Corruption” in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Patrik Olsson attended on invitation by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to present the Swedish approach to anticorruption in academia. He also moderated a panel discussion with professionals from the Central Asian education sector.

Scientific research on corruption in Central Asian higher education are limited, but existing studies and testimonies indicate that countries in the area have had problems with principals, professors and other staff accepting bribes in exchange for admission and higher grades. But corruption in higher education also includes all kinds of plagiarism, budget fraud, and falsifying academic degrees.

Patrik Olsson i Uzbekistan i februari 2020. Foto: Privat

In connection with attending the conference, Patrik Olsson held a lecture for law students and professors at the Tashkent State University of Law. He covered criminological and socio-legal topics – why individuals and groups follow or break laws and norms, and compared how different social institutions can contribute to crime prevention. One such example are the Uzbek “mahallas”, urban administrative districts, initially informal structures organizing familial and religious matters, and later formalized to solve minor disputes and keep the social order.