The ACC Regional Manager South told a Technical Working Group meeting that a single incident of bribery in school is unacceptable since it has the tendency to damage the integrity of the educational sector, compromise free quality education, undermine intelligence of pupils, and can cause dropout. Musa Jawara said bribery for admission is as serious as a man in sexual penetration quagmire; bribery for grades and exams is as dangerous as drink-driving; and bribery for report cards is as annoying as children in half-naked dresses around 12pm.
The ACC he told his audience continues to show intolerance to bribery and petty corruption in the sector. In the last ten days the Commission has conducted meet-the-school campaigns in six secondary schools, namely: Ahmadiyya Secondary School, Methodist High School, the Awada School, Milton Comprehensive, Saint Andrews Secondary School (UCC), and Allawallie International Academy in the Bo town-ship. This is to educate pupils to take active roles in tackling corruption that has the potential of undermining their future, thwarting their ambition, and shackling their prosperity.
ACC Senior Public Education Officer told the pupils that they have a responsibility to report instances of petty corruption. Sulaiman Sowa said they have a role to stop malpractices in schools by making a phone call each time they see it happening.
The Commission has kindled its interest in happenings in schools and is applying administrative measures to address malpractices as and when required and as is one of the objectives of the PNB.
In January a teacher in one of the schools in Yamandu, some twenty miles outside Bo, was authorized to pay back to his two pupils Two Million Leones he converted into his own. Apparently, the pupils – after taking the BECE last year – engaged themselves in some mining activities and deposited the proceeds to the said teacher for safe keeping. The pupils told the Commission they had ambition to enroll into one of the grade ‘A’ schools in Bo and would use the money to rent a house, and purchase bicycles to ride to school. He had paid the money.
Additionally, a teacher in one of the grade ‘A’ schools in Bo returned the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Leones he collected as admission fee to his pupil, who reported the matter to the ACC. She was in the BECE class.
Two teachers also solicited Seven Hundred Thousand Leones from two pupils as a bribe for admission. They had returned the monies upon intervention of the ACC.
On 20th February some 19 pupils of Christ the King College (CKC) stormed the Commission complaining they had been prevented from taking the WASSCE. They reported their names were omitted as candidates of the school without explanation from the school’s authority. MBSSE told ACC many of the pupils failed their BECE and also carried fake results. But is it still unclear why they were admitted when the school knows a requirement for taking the WASSE is a passed BECE.
The Commission is closely working with stakeholders in the education sector, including CSOs, to tackle bribery and other corruption related practices there. The Commission is mapping plans to address complaints of teachers collecting salaries without teaching. It appears principals are unable to nip the problem and are therefore seeking intervention.
The Commission will continue with the meet-the-school campaign to encourage pupils to report to 515 teachers shirking duties and other corruption related practices. It is noted that high complaints on I Paid a Bribe can also suggest people taking action against the menace.