Public education builds public trust. It involves people in the political, social and bureaucratic arrangements that monitor and coordinate anti-corruption strategies. Public education efforts demonstrate a commitment on the part of government and other community actors to actively engage with the community and potentially reshape government structures that have been beset with poor governance practices.
Public education includes not only formal education about the rights and obligations of stakeholders, but also public education campaigns to build awareness about the problems and solutions relating to governance. The public plays a critical role in assessing the effectiveness of local governance and transparency programmes. As necessary stakeholders and beneficiaries of government services, the publicís values and standards inform the local governance process. Educating the public also includes engaging children in discussions about transparency and government ethics , which can serve to motivate and to build future coalitions for good urban governance.
To facilitate informed participation of the public in local governance through adequate education and information on relevant issues.
To create demand for public accountability.
Linkage to Transparency
Educating the public is a main building block in enhancing transparency and accountability in local governance structures. A strong public education effort increases avenues of citizen access to government and is one of the initial steps to restoring public trust in governmental institutions.
How it Works Ė The Key Elements and Approaches
Educating the public about the importance of transparency is a long-term undertaking. It not only includes explaining the obvious negative effects of non-transparent practices, especially corruption , but also providing the public with the tools to identify and report corruption, fraud and unethical conduct in government administration. In order to run a successful public education campaign, creativity and broad public participation are as important as financial resources.
In any education or outreach activity, the first step should always take account of the diverse interests and composition which make up the public. The quality and sophistication of the methods utilised is largely dependent upon the available financial and human resources. Unlike ethics commissions and other anti-corruption agencies where minimal financial resources can jeopardise efforts, public education efforts ultimately can be effective with minimal financial resources as long as a broad public interest is sought and represented. Information can be packaged in many ways including through the use of music, art and drama, posters and billboards. Tools such as public speaking engagements can be effective in reconnecting the public with the government and its representatives, especially since corruption can alienate and disaffect a citizenry.
It is impossible to describe one foolproof, all-encompassing technique for public education campaigns or programmes. Designing such programmes requires understanding a communityís population and employing several approaches. At the very least though, educating the public must involve all sectors of a society: public, private, non-governmental and non-profit. Such cross-sectional representation elicits more comprehensive strategies for building transparency in urban governance. Some methods that have been widely used are described below.
Media/Publicity Campaigns. Media participation is crucial. It provides an avenue both for public education and access to information. The media can be useful in formulating programmes that dedicate their space to issue of good governance, including transparency and accountability. With its expansive reach, the local media is useful in cultivating a culture of public interest and debate in local governance issues. On one hand, it can inform and facilitate public participation in decision-making, while on the other, it can be effective in exposing government corruption . Government and community groups can partner with the media to develop public education and information programmes for increased transparency. Yet the media need not rely solely on such opportunities and should often take the lead in channelling relevant information to the public domain. Encouraging a well-informed civil society is highly plausible through public service announcements (PSAs), local radio and television programmes, print advertisements and posters, and specially televised community town hall events focusing on transparency in urban governance
School Programmes. As mentioned earlier, children are necessary constituents in any public education programme. Whether through informal school activities, such as role-playing, or through more formalised classroom curriculum devoted to inculcating core ethics values and character education, ethics education encourages children to think about ethical behaviour in government administration. More importantly, educating children about the dangers of corruption supports a future citizenry that is dedicated to good governance.
Public Speaking Engagements. Meeting with business, civic, religious and other non-profit organizations is a more piecemeal approach toward public education efforts. Besides, not every member of the public is part of some formal membership organization or association. Yet an advantage to these types of engagements is the opportunity not only to deliver a message, but also to respond to the publicís questions and concerns and to receive community feedback. There are various ways to carry out this approach, such as: creating a local speakers bureau where government officials, academics and other experts can be available to talk about anti-corruption initiatives and governance strategies; designating a public agency to conduct community presentations and workshops; and appointing a public information officer to conduct public education presentations.
Publications. Producing written information highlighting community and national resources on ethics , transparency and anti-corruption strategies can be an effective tool in any public education campaign. However, this element is not adequate on its own. Written publications can be valuable in conjunction with activities such as training and education programmes for government employees and officials, public speaking engagements and study circles. Additionally, as electronic mediums become more readily accessible, on-line publications of such material can increase the publicís knowledge and awareness of how to increase transparency and contribute to better governance.
Anti-Corruption Media Campaign in Lebanon
Peru - Several Approaches for the Anti Corruption Campaign
School Education Programme in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States
Use of Posters as effective public information tools in Botswana
Baltimore's CitiStat programme - Introducing a new culture of public information and participation
Further information and contacts
Pope, Jeremy (2000). Transparency International Sourcebook.
(Chapter 24: The Right to Information--Information, Public Awareness and Public Records).
Transparency International (TI), Otto-Suhr-Allee 97-99, 10585 Berlin, Germany
Tel.: +49-30-343-8200; Fax: +49-30-34703912
Case summary prepared byM. Lippe, Transparency International.
Case summary prepared by M. Lippe, Transparency International.
Case summary prepared by M. Lippe, Transparency International.
Urban Management Programme, Sub-regional Office for Africa:
7 St Davidís Place, Parktown, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa.
Tel: +27-11-7173532/3503; Fax: +27-11-7173699;
The Mayorís Office, City Hall,
Room 250 ē100 N. Holliday Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, USA.
Tel.: +1-410-396-3835; Fax +1-410-576-9425