Youth as agents to help fight corruption

The Anti- Corruption Commission

Nearly one in two students felt that they have to lie or cheat to succeed in life

SONAM PENJOR

Thimphu

Towards promoting a culture of integrity and instilling a sense of intolerance to corruption, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has been conducting a series of advocacy programs and interactive sessions with youth and the general public to become agents and renounce unethical behaviors against corruption.

Since more than 45 percent of the Bhutanese population consists of youth, Dy. Chief Integrity Promotion Officer under Department of Prevention and Education with ACC, Thinley Norbu said that this huge social group has to be well educated on anti-corruption principles and moral values at the very initial stage to develop a culture of non-tolerance to corruption.

He said this will enable young individuals to grow into potential, responsible and ethical leaders and citizens who will become agents to renounce unethical behaviours, uphold justice, and act against corruption at all times.

According to Chapter 3, Section 41 (c) of the Anti-Corruption Act of Bhutan 2011, it mandates the ACC to “Ensure that training and educational institutions have legal and ethical subjects in their curriculum, teach and educate their trainees or students about social harm and dangers of corruption, and actions needed to prevent it, and instill in them intolerance for corruption.”

Thinley Norbu said the ACC in consultation with relevant education and training institutions has developed a comprehensive Youth Integrity Program (YIP) to cater its program and activities to the entire youth of Bhutan including out-of-school youth.

“The YIP aspires to bring a positive shift in the attitudes of youth in upholding ethical behavior and ultimately build a value-laden social fence against corruption,” he said.

Further, the ACC will target the entire children and youth of the country with the current focus on the school going youth including early childhood care and development (ECCD) children.

“ACC believes that the most sustainable and strongest shield against corruption is education which should form a vital component of the anti-corruption strategy,” he said.

According to the Transparency International, 2014, report “Asia Pacific Youth: Integrity in Crisis” reveals that young people face challenges in upholding their own integrity standards and are willing to behave corruptly if it yields personal benefit. They believe that people have more chances of achieving success in life if they lie, cheat, break the law and act corruptly.

Besides, Integrity and Value Education in Schools, 2012, report which was published by ACC  states that nearly one in two students felt that they have to lie or cheat to succeed in life and 91 percent of the teachers felt that values and integrity in the present youth are degenerating.

Meanwhile, as a part of YIP implementation, the ACC in collaboration with the Ministry of Education (MoE) has instituted Integrity Club in twenty schools, one in each Dzongkhag. The club is expected to promote moral values among students, create anti-corruption awareness, including in nearby communities, and strengthen good governance principles in the school management system.

Further, the ACC has plans to collaborate with MoE to integrate integrity and anti-corruption education in scouts and youth center programs, and to develop a module on ethics, integrity, and professionalism for tertiary institutions in collaboration with the Royal University of Bhutan and Gyalsung programs.

Considering the positive outcomes of the club activities, Thinley Norbu said ACC has plans to further expand the initiative in other schools in the upcoming financial year.

He further added that ACC also collaborated with MoE and developed a DAMTSI activity book for ECCD children to impart integrity education to promote three core anti-corruption principles and values of honesty, responsibility, and fairness among the ECCD children.

The DAMTSI activity book will facilitate in educating both children and their parents on integrity education and contribute to laying a strong foundation for moral development of children.

According to Thinley, the ACC is also collaborating with the Royal Education Council in developing the Value Education Curriculum for classes PP-XII wherein one of the five core values is integrity.

MoE is also in the process of developing a National Youth Policy and Action Plan to raise integrity consciousness among the youth.

Similarly, towards enhancing credible and positive work culture by renouncing unethical acts, Thinley Norbu added that the ACC in collaboration with Ministry of Labour and Human Resources has developed a modular curriculum on ethics, integrity, and professionalism for Training and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions and will be implemented in eight TVET institutions across the country.

“Youths are our hopes for a better future. Such a future can only be realized if the youth are embodied with the right attitude and values,” he said, adding the ACC is optimistic that the implementation of the YIP, with support and commitment from key stakeholders, will enable our youth to become the agent to renounce unethical behaviors, uphold the fundamental duty to act against corruption, and become honest, responsible, and productive citizens.