This morning’s newspaper brings the astonishing news report that the CBI is enlisting the help of school and college students to help the agency fight corruption.

In a recent directive, CBI Director A P Singh asked all anti-corruption units to visit schools and colleges — following the Vigilance Awareness Week from October 31 to November 7 — raise students’ awareness and urge them to help with information about corruption in Central government offices.

The Lucknow region anti-corruption unit of the CBI had  an hour-long interaction with Class XII students of Kendriya Vidyalaya at Gomti Nagar.

 Students were told how they could help the CBI in laying traps to nab the corrupt. The CBI team also shared with students officials’ phone numbers and email IDs so that they could send in tip-offs.

They were also told that

 the CBI pays “great attention to collection of concrete evidence.” 

CBI Joint Director Javeed Ahmed said that

“Our aim is to make youngsters aware of the basic job and functioning of the CBI. We will also make them understand that students can play a significant role in curbing corruption in departments of central government by passing information. “

So the CBI wants school and college students to help them by giving them information about corrupt Central government employees.

School students do not normally have to deal with any personal business in offices of the Central government. So the only Central government employees they are likely to know are their parents or relatives.

And they would probably be able to obtain “concrete evidence”  against only their parents, supposing they were corrupt.

So is the CBI seriously suggesting that school children gather incriminating evidence against their own parents?

And supposing kids did gather such evidence against parents or close relatives or perhaps neighbours, will the CBI be able to protect these juvenile whistle blowers?

 The CBI is not even able to protect adult whistle blowers in many cases. What is the guarantee that they will be able to protect these children? Especially when they continue to live in close proximity to those they have informed against?

I cannot help but think that this is a very bad idea. I feel that encouraging children to inform the authorities against their own family may lead to an unstable and sick society.

 Action should certainly be taken against the corrupt. But this does not seem to be the right way to do it. I think this particular remedy may be more potentially harmful than the problem itself.

What do you think?