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Anti-graft battle goes to college

New Delhi, June 12: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has advised all universities to include anti-corruption curriculum in courses for higher education and conduct research aimed at combating the menace.

Instructed by the Union human resource development ministry, the higher education regulator has sent a letter to the vice-chancellors of all universities to include anti-corruption lessons in subjects like law, public administration and human rights.

“The Government of India is actively participating in the activities of the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) and in order to strengthen participation and to combat corruption in every form, the ministry of HRD has considered for inclusion of anti-corruption in the curriculum,” said the letter issued by Upamanyu Basu, the financial adviser to the UGC.

According to a ministry official, the IACA was an international institution that undertakes knowledge initiatives on anti-corruption.

As the regulator, the UGC advises the universities on academic and funding matters. The universities are free to decide how they will include the anti-corruption theme in the curriculum. An UGC official said that the universities may start it as special course or introduce it as part of some courses.

N.R. Madhava Menon, the founder vice-chancellor of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, said that anti-corruption is read as a full semester subject under the law programmes in many Commonwealth countries.

The Commonwealth Legal Education Association (Clea) has already prepared model courses on anti-corruption.

“A whole range of issues are covered under anti-corruption. There are economic crimes, abuse of power, ethics, political corruption and vigilance laws,” Menon said.

He said the introduction of anti-corruption in the curriculum was a timely move by UGC. The political and social developments in the past five years suggest that anti-corruption should be part of a course.

The government has enacted a number of anti-corruption laws like the Lok Pal Act and the Right to Information Act which can be included under the curriculum, Menon said.

A Delhi University professor said that students of humanities could take up research on the subject. “Corruption is an issue on which students can take up research. It will be very challenging but worth taking to study the genesis of the illegal practice,” he said.