Introducing Character Education: A Proposed Strategy for Developing Anti-Corruption Culture in Liberia

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Introducing Character Education: A Proposed Strategy for Developing Anti-Corruption Culture in Liberia

Dr. Ambrues Monboe Nebo Sr. (D.Scs.)
University of Liberia, Liberia
Received: 28 May 2023; Accepted: 07 June 2023; Published: 03 August 2023

Abstract: Corruption continues to be one of the key challenges to the governance and development of many African countries. In Liberia, despite the existence of innumerable anti-corruption strategies, the menace of corruption remains ubiquitous or prevalent. This clearly suggests that the strategies introduced do not explain the fundamental cause(s) of corruption but are rather secondary explanations.
Using the qualitative descriptive method with a main emphasis on conceptual normative approach, this paper grounded on a virtue ethics theoretical stance seeks to address the problem of widespread corruption in Liberia. Guided by Tabula rasa and the theory of change as the theoretical framework, the paper conceptually proposed the introduction of character education as the essential strategy for developing an anti-corruption culture. The finding reveals that the main reason for the persistence of corruption in Liberia is a lack of a comprehensive moral value system that can sustainably socialize the rising generation into integrity through character education. The paper concludes that though character education is a long-term solution to the fight against corruption. However, facts have proven its efficacy in other societies as mentioned in this paper. So, if introduce and practice in Liberia accordingly, it is likely to produce similar effects.

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Keywords: Anti-corruption Culture, Corruption, Character Education, Theory of Change, Tabula Rasa

I. Introduction

Inarguably, corruption, in all its manifestations has extremely ruined Liberia’s pathway to national development. Since its inception, it has become the breeding ground for poverty and a real threat not only to the growing democracy but also to the already termed “fragile peace”.

Cognizant of the obvious devastating implications of corruption on all aspects of life, namely the economic system, the democratic system, the political system, the legal system, and the social order, the government has demonstrated political will by adopting institutional, normative frameworks through legislation, and comprehensive anti-corruption strategies to help combat the menace of corruption. Despite these initiatives or efforts, corruption remains pervasive. This is evidenced by the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) Report for 2022 which ranked Liberia 136 with a score of 29 out of the 180 countries. Regrettably, the report ranks Liberia fifth among Africa’s 10 most corrupt countries.

On the flip side of the same coin, the CPI characterization of Liberia’s position clearly speaks to an imperative research need to explore other alternatives or strategies that would have a long-term positive impact on Liberian society. This is because all the counter-corruption measures do not explain the fundamental cause(s) of persistent corruption in Liberia but are rather secondary explanations.

Against this backdrop, this paper seeks to propose the introduction of character education as a long-term strategy for developing an anti-corruption culture in Liberia. The proposal is premised on research revealing that one of the long-term solutions to fighting corruption is implementing character education critical to developing an anti-corruption culture for the rising generation expected to be domiciled in both the public and private sectors. For example, Singapore ranked as the fifth least corrupt country is one of the outstanding countries in Asia that have since 1959 embarked on character education (UN, 2018, p.13) that greatly help to influence its phenomenal success (Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, 2022).

Indonesia still struggling with rampant corruption despite several anti-corruption legislations and measures have through extensive research embarked on the introduction of character education as the only effective tool for developing an anti-corruption culture (Sofwan, et al, 2018, Aksinudin, et al, 2022, Indriyani & Rudiyanto, 2023).
In exploring the proposal, this paper is structured into four segments. The first provides relevant theoretical frameworks relating to character education. The segment clarifies anti-corruption culture and character education with a specific context. The third segment put Liberia in context. Specifically, it provides general information about corruption in Liberia. Thereafter, it presents the rationale behind the proposal. And finally, the fourth segment concludes the paper with a recommendation.