The Fiji National University (FNU) has taken a significant step in the fight against corruption by introducing a free anti-corruption course for students, to raise awareness on transparency and good governance.
FNU’s College of Humanity and Education (CHE) partnered with Integrity Fiji, Transparency International, Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), Pacific Youth Council and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to develop the programme.
While launching the new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Ethics and Anti-Corruption in Oceania, FNU’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Dr William May, highlighted that corruption is a serious crime that remains a key obstacle to the development of a nation.
“The development funds that should be dedicated to vital education and health care are diverted into the hands of public officials and this impact’s the government’s ability to deliver basic services, causing greater inequality and poverty, if not managed well,” stated Dr May.
The new course is aligned to the government’s ratified commitments under the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and also aligned to the push against corruption in Fiji, the Pacific and globally under Transparency International’s policy commitments to Agenda 21’s SDG 16.
The online programme encapsulates the university’s commitment to developing partnerships with local and regional anti-corruption agencies to promote ethics and good governance in Oceania.
According to Dr May, given economies of scale and small island vulnerabilities, Pacific Island states need anti-corruption training programs that are pragmatic and island-centred.
The six-week course, offered by the School of Arts and Humanities under the College of Humanities and Education aims to enhance moral reasoning, reaffirms the importance of core values such as honesty and integrity and ethical decision making.
College Dean, Professor Unaisi Nabobo-Baba, said it was important for people to learn and understand more about the far-reaching impact corruption has in society and why there’s a need for everyone to remain ethical.
“I am very proud to say that this course came into fruition because of the good partnerships that our University has with the various stakeholders. It is about time that University’s like ourselves, help curb corruption in the country. This course is a first of its kind for Fiji which was needed and is freely available for the people,” said Professor Nabobo-Baba.
Chairperson of Integrity Fiji, Jofiliti Veikoso, said the MOOC online course will ensure that participants are educated on what corruption is, the implications of corruption and how an offence can be reported.
“There has always been a need for more proactive public education on the definition of corruption in Fiji and I am excited about that— the new course will roll-out very soon,” he said.
The new MOOC online course on Ethics and Anti-Corruption in Oceania will be offered from 25th January 2021.