This Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships project, implemented with the leadership of Transparency International Hungary, set the goal of developing a curriculum which seeks to test the knowledge of secondary school students through interactive tasks, games and a competition of short videos, and call their attention to the presence of corruption, as well as to its social and individual impacts.
The three-year international project involves the Italian and Slovenian chapter of Transparency International, represented by two selected secondary schools each, and it provides training to the teachers of the schools to prepare them for applying the curriculum in the classroom. The curriculum is based on the publication called 'Students Against Corruption’, prepared in a project supported under the Youth in Action programme. The current project seeks to test and try the curriculum, to be followed by the development a quadrilingual online platform.
We talked to Project Manager Diana Sebestyén, Office Manager of Transparency International Hungary, about the experiences.
Why do you consider it important to reach the secondary school age group?
In 2012, we conducted a survey among young people aged 15 to 29, which pointed out that 80% of the age group thinks that corruption naturally belongs to life, and people who don't live their lives quite honestly are much more successful today. This ratio was so alarming and shocking that it became clear to us that we must intervene as soon as possible, wake up the youth and show them that corruption is not necessarily inherent in life and we can do against it. In our former project – the one that produced the Students against Corruption publication – students brainstormed about how they would call the attention to the risks of corruption within their own small community. That work made us aware how good it was to cooperate with today's secondary school students - they have creative ideas, they are brave, cooperative, open and critical. We want every student about to take the secondary school final exam in Hungary to hear about corruption, its short and long-term effects and possible solutions. Our goal is to include the curriculum developed in the Erasmus+ project in the National Curriculum, either as a compulsory or a recommended component – the form is of secondary importance to us.
How did teachers in Hungary and abroad respond to the issue?
The teachers involved in the project are mostly committed and active. Still, we often have an impression that teachers’ tasks are so many-folded, and they bear so much burden that they find it difficult to insert the training sessions in the curriculum. Some are afraid that the expectation is not a classical teaching method but to give up frontal teaching and allow students some control, too, enabling them to do more independent work. We consider it very important that the school should be a cooperative and active partner, as we expect to rely on teachers in a lot of tasks.
Besides the project submitted under the above-mentioned ’Youth in Action’ programme, what other institutional activities is this project related to?
Transparency International has been creating a strategy every 3 or 5 years to determine what the organisation should focus on. Shaping the views of the society and involving citizens in the fight against corruption has come to the foreground in recent years. The organisation also considers mobilisation and education important at an international level. We believe that it’s not enough to fight corruption phenomena by correcting bad practices, since any well-conceived system can soon go wrong if those who use it don’t consider it important to act honestly in their private and public affairs. Therefore, besides reviewing laws and doing research, we are also engaged in educational and other activities aimed at shaping social views. We seek to expose corruption phenomena to the public, to analyse them, and to provide arguments why it’s worth changing practices of corruption and what benefits these changes can bring to individuals and communities.
At the end of the project, how can you make sure that it has achieved its objective?
Although the issue of corruption is included in the National Curriculum, it’s not given enough emphasis and detail. We would do that and give schools a ready-to-use and tested curriculum, broken down to 3 or 4 classes. Besides, we would like to organise more conferences and thematic days in Budapest and in the country, and we also plan to have the curriculum accredited so we can train as many schools and teachers in the issue of anti-corruption as possible. The curriculum will also be shared with the chapters of Transparency International world-wide for use, so the project outcomes will reach a very broad audience.
Last modified: 16-10-2017