By: Alex A. Bah, Public Relations Assistant, ACC
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Monday 23rd October, 2023 dialogued with a delegation comprising, the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondaryl Education (MBSSE), Conrad Sackey, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Brima S. T. Kebbie and Chairman, Teaching Service Commission (TSC), Lawa Keifala.
This meeting which was held in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, 3rd Floor, Integrity House, Tower Hill, Freetown was intended to heighten collective efforts to sanitize the educational sector and chart a more pragmatic and robust ways to confronting and addressing challenges that principally include examination and other forms of academic malpractices.
In his statement, the Deputy Commissioner ACC, Augustine Foday Ngobie expressed his immense delight, noting that this informs the desire of the ACC, working with its partners, to address the root cause of corruption which is a lack of integrity at such a crucial level.
He added that the criminalization of examination and other forms of academic fraud in the 2019 Anti-Corruption Amendment Act was all borne out of this strong desire.
Mr. Ngobie added that in certain schools, the number of persons submitted as candidates for public examination particularly WASSCE is way greater than the other classes roll combined. This he said are the results of the interventions of the Commission through its Intelligence Outfit and raids conducted by its Elite Scorpion Squad,
He further noted that a lot of pupils would prefer to leave the urban areas and relocate to remote areas to take the exams.
The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Conrad Sackey, noted that his Ministry is poised to work with the ACC and other institutions to ensure that the educational standards are improved and sustained. He said the Ministry desires to review the Communique it had earlier signed with the Commission and other partners to further strengthen its mutual and collective efforts. He added that the Ministry will also ensure that the Integrity, Audit, Finance Committees, and the entire systems of the Ministry are made even more resistant to fraud and malfeasance
”We also have people taking these Government exams that are not supposed to take the exams and the Government is paying for them” the Minister stated, whilst strongly noting that these are the reason why so many people take the Government WASSCE, requiring a lot more examiners. These ineligible people, he said, are supposed to take the private exams.
The Minster disclosed that his Ministry has plans to collaborate with the National Civil and Registration Authority (NCRA) in a bid to ensuring that candidates have unique ID Nos linked with NCRA, to avoid persons (Government Employees) taking the Exams as if they were pupils and are paid for by the Government.
Mr. Sackey further stated that professionalism is one major challenge causing most of these problems.
He also disclosed that research conducted has even shown that, community teachers who are yet to be pin-coded manifest a lot more commitment to their tasks than the pin codes ones. He said that in monitoring staff attendance, a similar research revealed only a 9 percent difference between and in favor of pin-coded teachers as opposed to others.
Director of Intelligence and Investigations ACC, Evelyn Kuyateh explained some of the investigations conducted into suspected academic malpractices. She said that in some instances, students chase their scripts after exams, and some schools request parents to pay monies before exams, all intended to compromise the credibility and integrity of the exams.
She furthered that there were some students that came to Freetown as far as from Kenema to chase their scripts, but they were arrested by the ACC.
The Deputy Commissioner ACC, consented to play host at the Integrity House, to a meeting with other key partners, to robustly advance this cause of addressing examination malpractices in the educational sector,.which is slated for Thursday 26th October, 2023.
©️ Public Relations Unit, ACC