Civic Education for Combating Corruption: Lessons from Hong Kong and the US for Donor-Funded Programmes in Poor Countries

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Abstract

Donors are increasingly funding projects and programmes that fit under the general rubric of 'civic education'. These tend to address both targeted problems within a country and wider institutional reforms, including, for example, projects aimed at voter education for first time elections within a country, or human rights education in countries coming out of a non-democratic system. More recently, donors are funding civic education for both adults and children to help fight corruption. This article looks at lessons from two well-known models for civic education, one of which targets corruption specifically and one which targets wider civic values: the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption's (ICAC) community relations programme, and the US civic education, including programmes funded by USAID in other countries. It argues that both the Hong Kong and US experiences of civic education demonstrate how unlikely it is that donors will produce similar results with a fraction of the budget and in environments characterised by weak institutions, widespread illiteracy, crumbling or non-existent schools and inadequate training for teachers. It also explores how, in fact in both cases, corruption forms only a very small part of much wider civic education curricula based on citizenship, not corruption, and discusses the implications of this for donors. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-249
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Administration and Development
Volume26
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007

Keywords

  • civic education, democratisation, corruption, citizenship, donor agencies