September 26, 2013 11:20 am

UN initiative launches anti-corruption kit for schools

The United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Management Education initiative has launched what it is calling an “anti-corruption tool kit” to help business schools build programmes that educate students on the dangers of corruption and how to avoid it.

The tool kit is organised around modules that can be taught individually or as part of a free-standing course on anti-corruption. It includes case studies submitted by some PRME member schools and covers topics including legislation, managing international supply chains and whistleblowing.

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“To be honest, we don’t have many higher education institutions with specific courses about corruption,” said Bertrand Venard, professor of strategy at Audencia Nantes and facilitator on the PRME anti-corruption working group.

Prof Venard has personal reasons for becoming involved in the project after being expelled many years ago from an Asian country for trying to fight corruption.

He said the toolkit has been in development since 2010, which is when the working group started discussing the issue. It has now been tested live in several institutions.

“It’s good to have a vision, a strategic objective, but it’s also good to be down to earth and be practical about how you are going to achieve your objectives. That’s why you need a tool kit,” he says.

He said while he knew there was a view that higher education should be value-neutral he did not agree.

“Students spend a lot of time with us. We do not want to indoctrinate them, but we want to make sure that they do their best while they are with us,” Prof Venard said.

He said a search of literature he had recently conducted showed that every time there was a crisis, higher education, including business schools, received some of the blame. Nonetheless, he said some of the blame was justified and he believed business schools did need to look at how they were doing things.

“In business school we tend to be believe that the key element of society is business, but in fact it’s humans,” he said.

The PRME was established in 2006 and published six principles in 2007. The organisation asks members to report progress in the implementation of practices that lead to greater sustainability and that encourage responsible leadership and social and environmental responsibilities.

The PRME’s working group on anti-corruption is one of several including poverty, gender equality and climate change.

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