The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Southern Region Office has conducted a series of outreach meetings with teachers and pupils of various secondary schools in Moyamba District to instill in them the values of integrity, accountability and transparency.
The engagements, which took place between 24th and 26th March, 2021, targeted the Taiama Secondary, Dasse Secondary and Kowa Secondary Schools, among several other schools in Kori, Dasse and Kowa Chiefdoms in Moyamba District.
The engagements are part of the Commission’s activities to tackle issues of extortion, bribery and malpractices in schools.
In his statement, ACC’s Southern Region Manager Musa J.B. Jawara described the engagements as a systematic approach to enhance the understanding of teachers and pupils on how these bad practices are inimical to the advancement of quality education.
Mr. Jawara reminded the teachers of their responsibilities, referencing the appropriate legal instruments that guide the conduct of the teaching profession. He said despite the huge resources allocated to improve the standards of education, yet some unpatriotic individuals are bent on derailing these efforts.
He affirmed the Commission’s commitment to working with various partners to continue to strengthen school structures, noting “the growth of a nation depends on the delivery of quality education.”
Mr. Jawara informed teachers and pupils of the offence of academic malpractice as enshrined in the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as amended in 2019, which penalty is a fine of not less than Fifty Million Leones or prison term of not less than five years or both such fine and imprisonment. He therefore admonished the pupils to be studious and turn away from anti-social acts that do not add value to their academic work.
In his statement, ACC’s Public Education Officer Mohamed A. Kabba described corruption as the failure of an individual to engage in what is not expected of them. He recognised the challenges schools are faced with, but warned that they should not be used as an excuse to perpetrate acts of corruption in schools. “The cost of corruption in education is huge because it has wide-ranging consequences on other facets of the society,” he said.
Mr. Kabba highlighted some of the thorny practices which pupils should not engage in such as; bribes for grades, truancy, disrespect for school regulations, academic malpractices, payment to collect school report cards, etc. He encouraged the pupils to imbibe integrity values, describing them as the virtues that will guide them to success.
Senior Public Education Officer Abdulai Saccoh spoke on the number of interventions the Commission has undertaken to restore pride and integrity in schools, especially in the conduct of public examinations. He said the action of some unscrupulous teachers to demand bribes from pupils for grades will leave an indelible imprint in the minds of the pupils that bribery is another route to attain success.
He advised the school authorities to use the school fees subsidy judiciously and not divert them for personal benefit.
Concluding, Mr. Saccoh admonished the school authorities not to misconstrue the engagement as a way to intimidate them but rather to educate them on issues of integrity and practices that have bedeviled the education sector.
The teachers and pupils asked questions; while the presentation of information, education and communication materials to the Principals of the various schools climaxed the engagements.