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Secondary level teacher's guidebook launched: promotion of ethical leadership and integrity for Myanmar students

Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar), 30 July 2019
- On Monday 30 July, the Myanmar Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) jointly launched the Secondary Level Teacher's guidebook, with updates on integrity and anti-corruption. After supporting the launch of the teacher's guidebooks for Primary Level last year, UNODC renewed its support for the Secondary Level edition, through financing the printing as well as through making the Thai curricula on integrity and anti-corruption available in Myanmar language.

Today, the world is home to 1.8 billion young people, and according to the Regional Human Development Report published in 2016, over half of them live in Asia Pacific. Therefore, the 2018 UN Youth Strategy recognizes that young people are positive agents of change, and that they represent an immense and valuable potential that governments and institutions should nurture and invest in.

In Myanmar, 50% of the population is under 30 years old. Yet, daily experiencing rife corruption and poverty, among other challenges, significantly hampers youth's access to opportunities. Most of the educators recognize that the students they teach today will become the leaders of tomorrow. Therefore, empowering young people is Myanmar's only chance to combat corruption, end poverty, bridge inequalities, enhance and maintain integrity and promote key ethical values.

The Myanmar MoE has thus endeavored to regularly update its academic curriculum to meet the increasing demands of a transitioning society. Under the overarching framework of the National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) for 2016-2021, the MoE strived to reform the whole educational system. Accordingly, it planned on incorporating new curriculum and guidebooks, using recent methodologies to foster student's skills and improve their ability to comprehend the dynamics at work in Myanmar.

To further respond to current domestic dynamics, the MoE successfully cooperated with the ACC in holding the first Myanmar Youth Integrity Camp in June 2019. Supported by UNODC, the Youth camp gathered 130 young anti-corruption future leaders, teachers and students from 10 universities and aimed at raising awareness on corruption threats, increasing youth's involvement in the anti-corruption struggle, and promoting ethos of leadership and integrity.

Yet, if students are key agents of change in transitioning towards a knowledge-based society, teachers are also primary engines, entrusted with a  key role. If one hopes to strengthen student's soft skills, individual development and critical learning to induce long-term changes in Myanmar, teachers must be empowered to perform to the best of their abilities. The newly launched Secondary Level Teacher's guidebooks, by seeking to provide teachers with clear guidelines and explanations on successfully implementing new methodologies and lesson plans, precisely fall within this approach.

Howbeit, to fully exploit youth's potential as a driving force, updating curriculum is not enough. It is crucial to equally pay attention to the values that build future ethical leaders - values and habits that develop during childhood and adolescence. Schools are the spaces where young people prepare for life, acquire skills for career and success. Ensuring that future generations of citizens are brought up to expect corruption-free society is one of the most important ways to ensure a better future.