This year, the country commemorated the International Anti-Corruption Day under the theme Youth Involvement in Corruption Fight: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.
During the commemoration in Machinga, the Anti-Corruption Bureau revealed its plans to partner the education sector to include anti-corruption education in the curriculum at all levels. The decision seeks to build a corruption-free generation.
This is good.
The necessity to mainstream anti-corruption education into the curriculum is discernible. But to curb corruption in our societies, we need a holistic approach.
Increasing social, political and bureaucratic corruption haunt the country.
Anti-corruption education can be one way of solving corrupt practices.
However, innovative approaches such as values education and social pedagogy provide effective tools implementable both in and out of school.
Values education emphasises on principles and fundamental convictions as general guides to standard behaviour by which particular actions are judged as good or desirable.
They include tenets of social justice, self-reflection, accountability, personal and social wellbeing which cultivate and promote a strong value system in children, young adults and all citizens.
Where corruption is rampant, social trust withers away and the development potential of the whole country may be undermined.
The youth 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 a political system, it does not disappear when the political system evolves.
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 deep-rooted in the public sector.
Building the culture of integrity in society begins with values education of young people. The knowledge, skills and behaviour they acquire now will shape our country’s future.
Therefore, engaging school system is very critical to inspiring norms of integrity at a young age.
Developed countries use school systems to communicate to young people the roles and responsibilities to fight corruption.
The curriculum should engage students in an ongoing dialogue about how citizens can protect public integrity.
Values education should be a tool for imparting ethical behaviour and equipping young people with knowledge and skills to resist corruption.
If children are taught at tender age that corruption is evil, they will avoid corrupt practices as they grow. Values education and social pedagogy help young people to behave responsibly.
Our formal education system should emulate how others are fighting corruption. It is not a question of whether or not we should have values education.
While we may decide to educate children about anti-corruption, the vehicle through which values can be adopted is mainstreaming into the curriculum specific courses on anti-corruption and training educators to facilitate anti-corruption lessons in the classroom.
Therefore values education and social pedagogy are essential parts in effective learning of young people because they reflect good practices, build social skills and resilience hence a vital tool in fighting corruption. n