In what it says is a bid to fight graft in the Kingdom from the bottom up, the Ministry of Education announced yesterday the expansion of its anti-corruption curriculum to junior high school students.
The courses, which high-schoolers began taking last year, will now be implemented for students in grades 7, 8 and 9 as well. Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said the move was part of a “forward-thinking” effort to train the country’s youth.
The classes cover 12 modules spread across six semesters, and appear to address issues broader than just corruption.
For example, one module in grade 7’s first semester is titled, “Is money really everything?” Other modules address the perils of peer pressure and dealing with guilt.
Cambodia is perceived as one of the world’s most corrupt countries, ranking 156th out of 177 countries last year in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.
Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, welcomed the initiative, but said fighting corruption in the short term required more concrete measures.
“While this is very good for the long term, Cambodia’s immediately necessary measure is to enforce the anti-corruption laws and bring corrupt officials to punishment without exception, together with the establishment of systematic mechanisms . . . including passing the whistleblower protection law, access to information law and making asset declarations public.”