Despite Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s attempt to paint Ukraine as a cesspool of corruption to advance his client’s reelection, media reports (here and here) and assessments by the IMF and the World Bank show the country making steady progress in bringing corruption to heal. One especially promising sign is the large number of university students and mid-career professionals studying how to combat corruption. Last September Ukraine’s Anticorruption Research and Education Center (ACREC) partnered with the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, the nation’s oldest institution of higher learning, to offer a degree in corruption studies for students and a certificate for civil servants, business executives, and others in the workforce needing to know more about the topic to better do their job. Classrooms are bulging, and plans are being made to expand the number of courses.
The Ukraine program sparked the interest of other Eurasian nations in starting similar programs, and in January representatives of non-governmental organizations and universities from Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova met in Kyiv to learn from ACREC’s experience. Topics included whether to concentrate on students or mid-career professionals, whether, as in Ukraine, a program should be offered by a partnership between an NGO and a university, and the pros and cons of charging tuition versus seeking a grant from the government or a donor agency.
I spoke about what to teach. As the notes from my talk show, my bias is towards a heavily academic curricula, one that stresses analytical tools that prepare students to tackle a range of public policy issues. That is not the only way to teach about corruption, and indeed my friend Alan Doig has argued for a different focus.
I had planned to compare my proposed corruption studies curricula with those offered by universities and other institutions across the globe, but surprisingly little is readily available on the web. A 2013 U4 Anticorruption Resource Centre study catalogued the courses and degree programs then offered but contains little on what is taught and many of the links to the programs are dead. The only substantial description of a curricula I found was that of the International Anticorruption Academy, which has offered a Masters-level program in corruption studies since 2012 along with individual courses on specialized topics. (Full disclosure: one of which on local government I have taught on occasion.)
If we want more effective anticorruption policies and better implementation of those policies, we need policymakers, policy advisors, administrators, lawyers and business executives with a deep understanding of corruption and how to combat it. There is no one curricula or course that will meet everyone’s needs. The more the global anticorruption community knows about what has been taught and what has been learned about teaching corruption, the better. Readers with thoughts on what students and anticorruption practitioners should learn, with course syllabi, information on degree or certificate programs, and experience in or techniques for teaching about corruption are invited to share their knowledge with the GAB community.