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Corruption fight: Inculcating the right values in young ones is key

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Added 5th December 2019 11:45 AM

The government under several umbrellas and through a number of units namely; the inspector general of government, director of public prosecution and the anti-corruption unit are trying their level best to fight corruption.

Corruption fight: Inculcating the right values in young ones is key

Katherine Nabuzale

The government under several umbrellas and through a number of units namely; the inspector general of government, director of public prosecution and the anti-corruption unit are trying their level best to fight corruption.

By Katherine Nabuzale

The anti-corruption week running all this first week of December is aimed at fighting corruption in all its forms out of Uganda. Definitely, this one week campaign won't perform any miracles in as far as corruption in the country is concerned.

But it will at least reaffirm the fact that Corruption is a bad vice eating up the country and needs all the unity to uproot it from the system where it's very deeply impinged.

The government under several umbrellas and through a number of units namely; the inspector general of government, director of public prosecution and the anti-corruption unit are trying their level best to fight corruption. For instance, some individuals named in corruption scandals like the 2013 pension scam suspects at the ministry of public service who included the former permanent secretary Jimmy Lwamafa and senior accountant Christopher Obey were arrested, charged and are serving long jail sentences.

However, corruption being what it is needs each and everyone's effort and unity for laudable and tangible progress to be registered. It is not only the duty of government to concern itself with riding the country of such vices but also our responsibility to create the kind of country where we can all live, thrive and share in the country's resources equally without greed and personal interests at the fore.

As a better practice and strategy, focusing attention on the young generation is key in the fight  corruption  In Mauritius, they started an anti-corruption campaign targeting children right from  Pre-primary to secondary school dubbed " be an anti-corruption star" The major aim of this campaign is to involve all children from an early age in the corruption fight. For the children are the future generations of tomorrow who if not well guided will be the corrupt officials in no time. At the moment, while it seems like every stratum of government bureaucracy is mired in corruption, there is still glimmering hope that the proper and effective inculcation of values may yet prove to be a strong deterrence in the commission of corruption.

Fighting corruption through education requires that we properly nurture the young buds now. It might be a long term process but the results will be visible in no time and the positive change will stay for a lifetime.

Why target the young ones? According to research,

A child's mind is soft clay which can be molded to any desired shape. Thus, the early stage is the correct time to impart value inculcation into our system so that the right impressions formed in the children's mind will guide them throughout their life based on noble principles. At an early stage children rapidly grasp which behaviors are approved and which ones are not. They attach notions of good or bad, right and wrong to different acts and behaviors. Reward and punishment, approval and disapproval act as positive or negative reinforcers.

It is well known that teaching positive values like respect, honesty, compassion, care, humility, and responsibility etc. improves the quality of education in schools (Hasan et al., 2014). Values regulate and guide human behavior and action in our daily life. They are embedded in every word we select, speak and in every action we take. Values are learnt as we learn habits from the environment. Learning of values takes place quite early in life by the word of mouth or simple commands and instructions from parents, teachers and other adults around the children. In the early years of life, prohibitions and parent identifications are the source of values. 

On the contrary, implanting values is different from teaching any other school subject (Hasan et al., 2014). Therefore, the teaching strategy of values must put emphasis on how to think about something, to reflect, critically evaluate, appreciate one's own values and those of others, develop better communication, better decision-making so that the concepts ultimately find their ways into behaviors and actions.

Teaching of values is not only confined to the cognitive level but also covers the effective and behavioral levels. Attitudes, values and skills cannot be developed neither by forcing pupils and students to memorize nor by impositions. Provisions must be provided to internalize such attitudes and values which can be sustained in the long run. Only then can the learner take a conscious decision of practicing values, consciously and responsibly.

Basing on the fact that children have considerable influence among their peers in the family environment and the community at large, it is important that there is promotion of corruption campaigns in schools through various activities like role plays, dramas, debate contests, creative writing, value games and other engaging activities that reinforce values and direct pupils and students towards right character building which will be a hallmark in shunning corruption and embracing integrity.

This is because such activities will provide channels for the young generation to reflect and express themselves on anti-corruption issues, strengthen their knowledge and understanding of corruption through brainstorming and research as well as trigger the visible engagement of the youth in the sustainable fight against corruption.

Society can only be corruption free if traits characteristics which underpin integrity such as honesty, transparency, accountability, and fairness are taught and embraced at a very young stage as critical social norms. This won't only bring about a change in mindset but will also serve to prove that when young people are educated on the practice of these attributes, the country will surely be a fairer and cleaner one.

Proper inculcation of values, ethics, and moral principles might be the solution to this long-festering problem of corruption.  Therefore, let's strengthen the moral fiber while it's still soft so that it can resist the temptation of corruption.

rkatham@yahoo.co.uk

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