Vietnamese youth well aware of integrity, but chose compromise: survey

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Vietnamese youth understand the concept and importance of integrity but seem ready to compromise it for their own benefit, the 2010 Vietnam Youth Integrity Survey (YIS) has found.

Results of the survey, jointly conducted by Towards Transparency (TT) - the official national contact of Transparency International (TI) in Vietnam - and the Center for Community Support and Development Studies (CECODES), were released Monday (Aug 8).

Based on interviews with 1,022 young people between the ages of 15 and 30 randomly selected from 11 provinces and cities across Vietnam, the YIS explored human values and attitudes towards integrity, as well as their experiences and behaviors in relation to corruption.

According to the survey, although 95 percent of young people agree that being honest is more important than being rich or increasing income, around one third of the surveyed are also ready to compromise integrity when it is financially advantageous, or if the amount of the bribe changing hands is small.

"This finding shows a need for enhancing integrity education for the young people, thus ensuring the sustainability of anti-corruption achievements in the country," said Mr. Dang Ngoc Dinh, Director of CECODES.

Despite  the  fact  that  86 percent of youths agree  that  they  can  play  a  role  in  fighting  corruption,  their commitment remains limited, with around 40 percent of the respondents saying they would not report a corrupt act, or are not sure if they would or not.

Among 60 percent of those who said they would report an incidence of corruption, only 4 percent have done so in the past, the survey found.

The main reasons the youths gave for not reporting corruption are pessimism and indifference, according to the survey, since 41 percent of the least educated youth said reporting corruption is not their business, while 41 percent of the best educated ones believe that reporting corruption would not bring any results.

Dang Thanh Canh, former chief of the Institute for Youth Studies, told the conference Monday that the fact that honest people can be regarded as "fools" nowadays is really saddening.

However, youths are not to blame for that fact, he said. "The responsibility belongs to our society, especially adults who must educate young people about honesty."

"We can't call for youths to act honestly when the society is full of corruption, embezzlement and fraud."

According to the survey, around one third of surveyed youths have experienced corruption in healthcare services, dealing with traffic police and in their companies over the last 12 months.

Nguyen Minh Thuyet, former deputy head of the National Assembly's Culture, Education and Youth Committee, said youths should be educated about integrity through real situations and role models.

Vietnamese young people are more likely to experience corruption than adults in five out of six daily life scenarios.

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