ICAC's commitment to preventing corruption means that it does not only target those already in the workforce, but those who will eventually become part of it. In her role as Deputy Programme Coordinator for Youth in ICAC's Community Relations Department, Monica Yu is dedicated to spreading ICAC's anti-corruption message to as many youth as possible.
"Young people are the future of society," says Ms Yu. The ICAC's objective is to "work along with other parties to instill positive values into young people, enabling them to be more capable of resisting the temptations of corruption later in life," she says. ICAC also hopes to enhance the awareness of young people to corruption and to anti-corruption legislation. "At the end of the day," says Ms Yu, "we hope to sustain [youths'] interest and support the fight against corruption."
University students a core target
While the ICAC conducts programmes for youth of all ages, from primary to tertiary students, the latter, says Ms Yu, is one of their "core targets." ICAC's common approach is what they call "school-based direct contact," whereby ICAC educates university students on campuses. ICAC has arrangements with the faculties of most local universities to conduct corruption prevention lectures on ethics during the school year. In these lectures, ICAC outlines the gist of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and then helps students assimilate the material by highlighting actual ethical dilemmas through case studies or role-playing videos.
According to Ms Yu, approximately 10,000 university students are reached each year through these seminars. However, since universities normally allot only one to two hours for such lectures in a school year, ICAC also produces portfolios on ethics for use by university lecturers in their regular curricula. The ICAC produces different portfolios for a wide range of disciplines, such as Business, Medicine, Law, Architecture, Engineering and Surveying, and a general ethics portfolio for other faculties. ICAC sends updated materials to universities regularly, and then collects feedback to evaluate their effectiveness.
Another approach taken by ICAC, explains Ms Yu, is partnering with other youth bodies, such as the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education, the Commission on Youth, and the Hong Kong United Youth Association Limited, to organise territory-wide corruption education activities and events for youth. ICAC also works with district councils and local voluntary agencies to organise similar events locally.
'Study Programme cum Youth Summit'
One of ICAC's latest projects for university students, "Corporate Governance for the New Generation", is currently underway. This "Study Programme cum Youth Summit," co-organised with the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education, the Commission on Youth, the Hong Kong United Youth Association Limited, and the Hong Kong Institute of Directors, requires participants to conduct a group project or submit a paper, either individually or in teams, on corporate governance. Students from the Mainland, Macau, and Singapore were also invited to enter the programme. The projects and papers were submitted for adjudication in January, and on March 1, 2003, a "Youth Summit" will be held, attended by around 600 young people, as well as business leaders and academics. Outstanding teams will receive scholarship awards, and have the opportunity to share their findings with their fellow participants.
Interest in the study programme has been overwhelming, says Ms Yu. Around 500 students from the Mainland, Macau and Singapore entered and approximately 300 Hong Kong students - from a wide range of disciplines - are participating.
The purpose of the whole event is to help equip tertiary students with the knowledge and insight necessary to become ethical leaders when they enter the workforce. Ms Yu also stresses the importance of fostering a positive social atmosphere for youth to exchange ideas on personal and corporate ethics.
Ms Yu refers to the "Study Programme cum Youth Summit" as a "first step in a long-term process." Following the Summit in March, Ms Yu hopes to work even closer with local universities to inject even more anti-corruption education into the regular curricula of all faculties. Increasing such education will benefit everyone, from students to companies to society at large. Students will be better equipped to handle ethical dilemmas when they are later employed, and companies will benefit from employing individuals with high ethical standards, says Ms Yu.
And in the wake of recent scandals in the US, such as Enron's, it is perhaps more important than ever before to employers that their employees have the knowledge and insight to maintain scrupulous ethical standards and resist corruption temptations.
How to benefit?
Primary, secondary and tertiary students interested in participating in ICAC's educational activities may contact the ICAC directly (tel. no. 2920 3503), or browse the web site www.icac.org.hk for additional relevant information.
Students may also log on to ICAC's youth web site, which can be reached by clicking "Teensland" on the ICAC homepage.
Useful information for reference by teachers and students alike may also be found by clicking on "Moral Education Web" on the ICAC homepage. "Moral Education Web" houses a wide range of moral education materials.