Fight Agaisnt Corruption begins with Education: Anti-Corruption Event in Kapan City

Anti-corruption education is an integral component of the development of the advanced countries. There are many models, but only one goal, provide anti-corruption knowledge to the children from the very beginning and form a set of values.

On 15 July, an anti-corruption event “Corruption Risks in the Field of Education,” which was aimed at revealing corruption risks in the sphere of education and to form a new set of anti-corruption values was held in Kapan City.

Mr. Karen Zadoyan, the President of the Armenian Lawyers’ Association and the Coordinator of the Secretariat of the CSO Anti-Corruption Coalition, in his welcoming speech spoke about the fight led by the Coalition, mentioning that the model of an independent universal anti-corruption body is currently being developed and that one of its most important components is education.

During the event, the teachers that work here in Syunik were complaining about the low wages stressing that as the main reason for the corruption. However, when speaking about the organization of anti-corruption training the same teachers raised problems and suggested solutions. They recalled that in Soviet times four camps were operating in Syunik. Currently there is only one. “Instead of the rest here in the splendid nature of our Syunik marz, our children travel for several hours to teach Kotayk or Gegharkunik marz to rest in their camps,” said the teachers. Instead of burdening the pupils with different disciplines during the academic year they offer to move those and teach in summer camps. Some teachers said that children are doomed in summer by the “forced idleness”. Instead, they could participate in various camps and get knowledge, including anti-corruption one.

After listening to the problems, Mr. Zadoyan said that they will be discussed them in the scope of the coalition and will take appropriate actions.

Deputy Governor of Syunik marz Vache Gabrielyan believes that fight against corruption could be conducted in the society which has developed civil society. “Corruption cannot find a place in a developed civil society. And it especially begins today, from this discussion, which refers to education, because education is the prerequisite for developing the society. Education is vulnerable as well. Highlighting this role, we should be more closely acquainted with the problem and recognizing it find solutions,” Mr. Grigoryan said.

“Education is the sphere that includes most risks. A small wrong step could be fatal, not only for the society, but also the person. We must also ensure that young people avoid negative phenomena. My approach to the word “corruption” is really cautious. In any case we have to be really cautions in our actions and avoid such occurrences,” Ms. Marine Aghajanyan Chief Specialist/Acting Head of the Development Program and Monitoring Department of the Staff of the RA Ministry of Science and Education.

She said that in the pre-vocational and vocational education institutions the discipline “Corruption and its prevention” is taught in the curriculum at the expense of the reserve hours. Some provisions are included in the course of the “Law Basics” program. In the bachelor’s degree program in higher education institutions, topics relating to corruption and its prevention are included in the programs of “Principles of Economics”, “Basics of Law” and “Political science” (one of these is mandatory for the student).

Mr. Aleksander Shagafyan, Executive Director of the US Alumni Association of Armenia, Speaking about the general education, said that anti-corruption measures should be implemented in three important institutions: school management, teachers, and students Councils.

If there is no quality education system in the country, if it is corrupt, then we cannot have a quality medicine, manufacturing and a developed economy. Mr. Marat Atovmyan Local Expert of the “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” Project thinks. He believes that there is a need to further improve the system of entrance examinations; reformation of the midterm and final exams; as well as increase of the salaries. It is necessary to create the independent students’, teachers’ and parents councils in every institute for detection and prevention of corruption cases and to organize anti-corruption trainings. The expert is confident that such measures should be implemented in schools.

It is appropriate to introduce the anti-corruption audit in higher education institutions as a mechanism for preventing corruption. Miss Syuzanna Soghomonyan, Lawyer/Specialist of Reforms Issues of the “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” Project said in her report. According to her, this audit will have two directions: control of public procurement and increase public understanding (external and internal).

Miss Mariam Zadoyan, another Local Expert of the “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” Project spoke about the international experience in the application of efficient mechanisms for combating corruption. She referred to the modern innovative approaches as well.

Gevorg Tosunyan