Suring this year’s commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day under the theme Youth Involvement in Corruption Fight: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation in Machinga, it transpired that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is considering partnering the education sector to include anti-corruption education in the school curricular at all school levels. The decision seeks to build a generation that will be corruption free.
This is the good move that every right-thinking Malawian should support.
Given the current status quo, one can see the necessity of mainstreaming anti-corruption education into our school curricular at all levels. However, in order to curb corruption in our societies, we need a holistic approach.
The ever-increasing number of social, political and bureaucratic corruption cases have all kept the country in the state of disarray and on spotlight. Of course, anti-corruption education can be one way of solving corrupt practices. However, I propose that an innovative approach such as values education and social pedagogy can be more effective because they provide effective tools that can be implemented both in and out of school.
Values education emphasises on the principle and fundamental convictions which act as general guides to behaviour, the standards which particular actions are judged as good or desirable.
Social pedagogy principles are tenets of social justice, self-reflection, accountability, personal and social wellbeing. They cultivate and promote a strong value system in children, young adults and citizens in general.
Where corruption is rampant, there is a great risk that social trust may wither away and that the development potential of the whole country may be undermined. Young people often become familiar with corruption at schools and universities.
Corruption finds its way into the society, mainly when it is so entrenched that it becomes the rule rather than the exception. When corruption is rooted in political system, it does not disappear when the political system evolve.
Generally speaking, to fight corruption now, one must be prepared to wage a fierce battle against the system. Corruption has become cancerous that it is eating into the cultural, political and economic fabric of our society.
It is stubbornly entrenched in this generation and it is deep-rooted in public sector. It is reaching alarming proportions.
Building the culture of integrity in society necessarily begins with values education of young people. The knowledge, skills and behaviour they acquire now will shape our country’s future and will help them uphold public integrity. Therefore, engaging school system is very critical to inspiring norms of public integrity at a young age. This can be achieved through values education.
This is the trend in developed countries where school systems are used to communicate to young people the roles and responsibilities of public integrity to fight corruption.
The school curriculum should engage young people in an ongoing dialogue about how as citizens can protect public integrity and curb corruption. Values education for public integrity should be a tool for imparting ethical behaviour and equipping young people with knowledge and skills to resist corruption.
It is my conviction that if children are taught values education through social pedagogy at tender age that corruption is evil, they will not engage in corrupt practices as they grow.
Values education and social pedagogy are supposed to help young people to behave responsibly by refusing corruption.
While we may decide to educate children about anti-corruption, the vehicle through which values education and social pedagogy can be adopted is by mainstreaming into the school curricular, specific courses on anti-corruption and mobilising educators through training in order to facilitate learning on anti-corruption in the classroom.