Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) believes that the youth in Sri Lanka can play a major role in building an equitable and developed nation free of bribery and corruption. On the day when millions of youths celebrate the International Youth Day, Sri Lanka youth must come forward to strengthen their commitment for integrity, honesty and anti-corruption.
Youth are the lifeline of our nation. Sri Lanka has a youth population of 5 million, amounting to 26% of the total population.
Although TISL faces the challenge of inspiring a younger generation with integrity by addressing the key issues, it is heartening to note that the majority of youth (84%) who participated in a survey conducted by TISL believed that lack of integrity is a serious problem not only in their personal lives but also to their families, economic prospects and the country as a whole.
The main objectives of the Youth Integrity Survey were to assess youth’s knowledge of corruption, to identify their attitudes towards the subject and to understand their willingness to fight corruption along with its challenges.
Every 1 in 3 youth respondents expressed that they are willing to raise their voice against corruption. A similar number would sometimes raise their voice, but not always. They should develop new strategies to refuse corrupt transactions, reduce corrupt demands and strengthen integrity amongst government institutions.
Although 45% of the youth respondents felt that their voice will not have any effect on corruption 56% of respondents felt that youth can play a big role in combating corruption and an additional 33% feel that youth can play at least a limited role. This is indeed encouraging.
But unfortunately, majority of the youth lacked awareness on anti – corruption initiatives, rules and regulations. This has hindered the loudness of their voices.
A troublingly high percentage of more than 80% would display unethical behavior to get a job offer or an important document. This was more likely for male youth than female youth and for rural youth than urban youth. This has prompted TISL to commit towards enabling youth to fulfill their aspirations of living a life of integrity and mobilizing them to do so.
TISL is of the firm view that Government and heads of political parties must get together to create a future generation more prone to accountability by introducing modules on attitudes, values, responsibility and duties into school curricula. They should collaborate with youth to increase their opportunities to fight corruption and provide a support for them when they do.
TISL has initiated a youth program to give the youth the opportunity to become true leaders in the fight against corruption through after-school education programs.