University networks formed at UNDP anti-corruption camp
KHON KAEN - UNDP held a weekend camp for university student leaders to educate them about the many dangers of corruption in Thai society and help prepare them to take action.
Corruption is common practice in Thailand, and it’s getting worse among youth. Major news media sources recently reported that a majority (63.4%) of Thai people still hold the view that corruption in government is acceptable as long as they also benefit from it according to a recent June poll. The vast majority of young people under 20 also hold the same attitude.
Using a diverse array of speakers, motivators, and educators, UNDP and the College of Local Administration at Khon Kaen University, 36 students from 15 universities from across the Thailand gathered to come up with activities and foment long-term solutions to corruption.
“We went into this blind. Many of the students aren’t politically active or spend much of their time on campus talking about corruption issues, but we’re impressed with their level of awareness,” said Kwanpadh Suddhi-Dhamakit, UNDP Programme Analyst at UNDP.
Through engagement and discussion, organizers quickly learned that students are well aware of the dangers of corruption—even falling victim to it—but felt powerless to take action. Many students at the Khon Kaen workshop talked openly about corruption in their daily lives.
“The university recognizes the importance of giving information to students to fight corruption. They will be the driving force in the future,” said Associate Professor and President of Khon Kaen University Dr. Kittichai Triratanasirichai.
Kittichai said that it was important for Thai universities to do their part in fighting corruption on school grounds. He said universities should integrate ethics and morality courses into general courses.
The thirty-six students at UNDP’s anti-corruption camp read his message loud and clear. They pledged via the “Khon Kaen Declaration,” a statement signed by all participants to build awareness among their peers, through student networks, and to the Thai public at-large.
UNDP hosted the camp with the aim of creating a larger anti-corruption network among university peer groups. The goal is for student leaders to create campus-wide networks and jointly plan activities for Anti-Corruption Day, December 9 and beyond.
Other speakers at the June 22-25 camp included Thai journalist Prasong Lertrattanawisute, noted scholar Dr. Sungsidh Piriyarangsan of Rangsit University, and Thai MP Chuvit Kamolvisit.