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Round table: Anti-Corruption Education in the Secondary Schools
 
Promoting anti-corruption education in the secondary schools is one of the new activities of Coalition 2000. It is especially a pertinent issue to work on in 2004, since a further and more effective development of the educational reform in the country is on the agenda, including the adoption of the Strategy for development of the secondary education in Bulgaria. On April 20, 2004 were discussed the possibilities for introducing anticorruption modules in the curricula of secondary schools on a round table at the Center for Study of Democracy. The main discussion topics of the round table included: best practices and possible formats for introduction of anticorruption education; ways of supporting the preparation and improving the qualifications of teachers and instructors, as well as the role of the school intermediary in supporting the resolution of arguments and conflicts in the secondary schools.

Representatives from the following institutions were present at the meeting: Ministry of Education and Science and Ministry of Interior Affairs, Committee for coordination of the work on combat with corruption in the Council of Ministers, school boards, educational institutions, nongovernmental organizations and media.

Opinions and suggestions regarding the format and adequate timing for introduction of anticorruption education in the secondary schools were exchanged during the meeting. As a whole, the participants in the discussion were united around the opinion that in the short term the anticorruption modules should be integrated in the existing forms of civic education in the primary and secondary schools (for example, in the so called voluntary selected subjects or as separate themes in the civic education or philosophy classes). Furthermore, during the meeting it was recommended that such an education should start even before the children go to primary school. An important element in this process is the provision of opportunities for improving the qualifications of instructors on the topic and the cooperation in this direction on the part of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Committee for coordination of the work on combat with corruption in the Council of Ministers and nongovernmental organizations.

As an additional direction for future work in conjunction with the introduction of anticorruption education and instruction practices in Bulgarian schools, it was emphasized that there is a need for closer work with the parents in the process of civic education in the schools and elaboration of clear rules or ethic code, which regulate the relations between instructors, parents and students.

In the framework of the round table, the participants also discussed the need for introducing a mechanism for acquaintance with and protection of the rights of students both during their education, as well as after their graduation through the establishment of a new position in the secondary schools (the so-called school intermediary) or through the utilization of the existing position of pedagogic councilor. The primary task of those intermediaries, parallel to the modules on anticorruption education, will be to acquaint the students with the role of institutions in the society, their civil rights, as well as building skills for protection of those rights.

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