The anti-corruption oriented, Botswana Centre for Public Integrity (BCPI) has identified schools and other learning arena as fertile ground for cultivating a culture of integrity and responsibility.
In that context the centre is set to conduct a series of training sessions for selected group of students from five schools around the capital city Gaborone starting next Saturday 6th July. The training will be held under the auspices of what is called the Integrity School.
Pusetso Morapedi, BCPI Executive Director, explained the event thus, “It is from the understanding that these young leaders will one day run the show, and they will be running SoEs, Ministries, will be in Parliament and Cabinet.”
It therefore follows, according to Morapedi, that the work ethics they learn now, the values and lifestyles they emulate as cultivated and instilled on them, will be what they live when in their future positions of power. Yet integrity and the fight against corruption will be a calling on a daily basis.
“Yes, as such we mean to plant a seed of integrity in young leaders and in the learning arena generally,” elaborated Morapedi
She further pointed out that the BCPI initiative is premised from the understanding that it is good and it works to catch them young whilst they are still malleable and open and receptive to new knowledge
Thus, learning concepts of integrity, transparency and accountability as early as now at school will help them to consistently adhere to shared norms and principles as well as desired societal values in in the various spheres where they will function.
Othusitse Othusitse, The Headmaster at Naledi Secondary School, acknowledged the significance of the initiative, “We see this as a very relevant and pertinent endeavor that should be supported. One of the things we have observed as seriously lacking in our students is the element of integrity hence the problem of vandalism and some of the unbecoming conduct.”
Othusitse further delighted in the fact that the initiative offered opportunity for young people to see themselves in a positive light as an impetus for the cream of future leaders with substance.
“For some of us we view this as an important build up towards the envisaged re-introduction of civic education through the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSP),” Othusitse enthused.
The ETSP is a newly conceived idea by government in acknowledging that the education system currently only focuses on subjects that have no bearing on the personal character and social values of its recipients. It has thus been resolved to re-orientate it towards the ideals of the national vision 2036.
Lovemore Mchechesi, Teacher responsible for Prefects and Monitors at Phakalane Secondary School spoke positively about the BCPI’s project.
He pointed out that it is good for the individual and personal development of the students in terms building character, responsibility and regard for collective values. It is as well important in that the form two and form three students we are sending there are more likely going to be here with us and therefore more grounded in terms of leadership qualities to lead a diverse student community coming after them.
“We are sending eleven of our students there. They come from Forms 2,3 and 4 as well as five.”
BCPI said they operate from the premise that cultivating integrity is not a linear process. Further that it is multi-dimensional and must be approached at different levels.
Mention was made of the fact that the Integrity School will spread to other parts of the country with Maun and Francistown at the top of the list next year.
The idea according to Morapedi is to develop a host of knights, champions and heroes as well as Modeling icons in the name of anti-corruption, who would like to form the required foundation for a future that can be enjoyed by all and envied by nations afar.