Teaching anti-corruption at the university level on the right track in Burkina

One of the best ways to fight corruption, is to have an educated population. Indeed, reinforcing a culture of integrity at all levels is amongst the most powerful tools against corruption.

Following such reasoning, UNODC launched in 2011 the Anti-corruption Academic Initiative (ACAD), a project which aims to produce comprehensive anti-corruption academic support tools to be used by universities and academic institutions, in their existing programmes. Among such tools, we can find the model course on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) adopted in 2013, which in fifteen modules covers global corruption, good governance and the UNCAC.

Discussions on how to adapt the content of the course to the West African context, started in 2015, when representatives of universities of West and Central Africa, of the African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education ( CAMES) and of the national anti-corruption institutions in West Africa met in Doha, Qatar.

Burkina Faso was chosen as the first country to have a follow-up national workshop in order to seize the favourable momentum following the adoption of two promising anti-corruption laws, one on anti-corruption and the second one on strengthening the Burkinabe anti-corruption authority.

Participants during the workshop on the integration of the teaching of anti-corruption at the university.
Participants during the workshop on the integration of the teaching of anti-corruption at the university.

Therefore, from 26 to 28 July 2016, UNODC and UNESCO organized a workshop on the integration of the teaching of anti-corruption at the university. The meeting was opened, amongst others, by the Minister of Education, Professor Filiga Michel Sawadogo, as well as Ms. Metsi Makhetha, Resident Coordinator of the UN system in Burkina Faso, who both congratulated the efforts of this initiative and expressed their support.

Participants to the workshop were professors of different universities of Burkina Faso, representatives of different institutions as the Réseau pour l'Excellence de l'Enseignement Supérieur en Afrique de l'Ouest (REESAO), CAMES, the Ecole Nationale d'Administration et de Magistrature (ENAM), l'Autorité Supérieure de Contrôle d'Etat et de Lutte contre la Corruption (ASCE-LC), the Réseau National de Lutte Anti-Corruption ( RENLAC), and the Réseau des Institutions Nationales de Lutte contre la Corruption en Afrique de l'Ouest (RINLCAO). Last but not least, representatives of students and researchers from foreign universities were also present.

During the three days of the workshop, the participants focused on discussing the way in which the different modules of the ACAD's course could be introduced in already existing courses. A few revealed that they already superficially approached anti-corruption in their current courses, but that the inclusion of more material from the ACAD's resource-base would be an asset to their students and to their teachings. The advantage of the inclusion of such teachings at the university level, is undoubtedly that a vast number of students will be familiarized with anti-corruption good practices, the current national Burkinabe legislation and the UNCAC.

Moreover, the creation of a multi-disciplinary Master's Degree on Anti-corruption, for the school year 2017-2018, was discussed and agreed upon. This initiative is the step beyond on the teaching of anti-corruption at the university level, as it will create a new generation of professionals from different fields, such as law, public administration, economy and journalism, specialized on the fight against corruption.

The participants agreed on the way forward: a coordination committee composed of three respected members was established. This committee will have the task of elaborating an action plan in view of establishing the programme, to be completed by the end of September 2016. Such action plan will include the establishment of a technical committee composed of twelve professors from different faculties, appointed by the presidents of the universities, who will be in charge of drafting the content of the Master's Degree.