ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION AND THE EDUCATION SECTOR: THE DEPLOYMENT OF THETHREE-PRONGED STRATEGY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION

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By Paul A. Conteh

The Government of Sierra Leone has prioritized human capital development as the primary cluster in the National Development Plan 2019 – 2023. Under this cluster, the Government of Sierra Leone focuses on the following strategicareas: accelerating health care services; increasing social protection systems; promoting environmental sustainability, affordable housingand land management, and strengthening the education sector, especiallythe implementation of the Free Quality Education Programme (FQEP) – the government’s flagship programme.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is serving as an active partner in the human capital development drive. The Commission has deployed the three-pronged approach in fighting corruption within the education sector. This approachincludes enforcement, education, and prevention. The Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Francis Ben KaifalaEsq, emphasizes law enforcement in the implementation of this approach. But he has equally been thoughtful in leading and empowering prevention and public education platforms.

Prevention and public education are essential facets of the fight against corruption within the education sector. The Commission regularly issues public notices that warn school authorities on the consequences of becoming an accomplice to examination malpractices and extortion of money for the end of year results and report cards. The Commission has established integrity clubs in schools. Furthermore, the Commission has engaged stakeholders in the education sector on its work.And Commissioner Kaifala has given public lectures in academic institutions across the country.

Barrister Kaifala has placed law enforcement at centre stage of his leadership. He has used this option as corrective measure when policy is flouted. In certain instances, the ACC Scorpion Squad has busted rings where education-related corrupt acts occur. This has led to a growing confidence among citizens that the war on corruption is alive and active.

On 19th July 2021, the ACC released a public notice warning school authorities against extortion and examination malpractice. The release itself was to prevent school authorities from engaging in corrupt-related activities; areas for possible law enforcement involvement were highlighted and an education was done on the policy and programmatic issues at play in this public discourse.

The ACC continues to support the human capital development efforts of the government, especially as it relates to education. The Commission’s youthful leadership and approach to work have seen steady progress been made at forefront of the war on corruption in the education sector.