The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) steadfastly continues to engage and empower schools across the country in order to instill lifetime values in pupils.
In that regard, Public Education Officers of the ACC’s Northeast office on 8th February 2022, held a campaign with teachers and pupils of Free Pentecostal Mission Academy at Makama in Makeni City. The overriding object of the campaign was to sensitize the school on corruption which if not eliminated will serve as an obstacle to the attainment of the goals of the Free Quality School Education project in the country.
Speaking at the engagement, ACC Senior Public Education Officer, Abdul Karim Bangura pointed out that the government is expending huge resources on improving the quality of school education in the country. This laudable project, he furthered, deserves the full support of every well-meaning Sierra Leonean, to improve on the country’s human capital. As such, he implored the pupils and teachers of the school to repel corruption and embrace hard work and integrity.
Mr. Bangura catalogued instances of corruption prevalent in schools. In addition to bribery for grades and cheating in exams, he highlighted the abuse and misappropriation of teaching and learning materials. These inglorious acts, like several others, could stunt the aspirations of pupils and entirely distort the very purpose of ‘sending our children to schools’, he lamented. Resisting corruption should therefore be considered as an obligation to all teachers and pupils ‘if you all are committed to achieving learning outcomes and increasing the performance of your school in public exams’ he averred.
The Senior Public Educator further informed the school about the ACC’s stout stance on forestalling corruption including examination malpractices, which according to the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 as amended in 2019 attract stiff penalties. Upon conviction on one count of a corruption offence, a minimum fine of 50,000,000 Leones or a minimum sentence of 5 years is levied; or both fine and prison term, Bangura concluded.
In his contribution, Public Education Officer, ACC, Aiah Sourie, encouraged the teachers to lead the fight against corruption by adhering to the codes of conduct set out for them. He encouraged them to not shirk their duties and responsibilities, which he described as critical to the development of the pupils. Sourie assured the teachers that with their unreserved commitment ‘the output of our schools will be impressive and we, as a nation, will reclaim our prestigious standing in education.’
John Bernard Kamara, Principal of the school, in response to the anti-graft messages, thanked the ACC for enlightening his teachers and pupils on corruption. He pledged that establishing an Integrity Club in his school would be indicative of his willingness to fighting against official misconduct.
Question-and-answer session climaxed the activity, which was followed by a vote of thanks delivered by the Head boy of the school, Abdul S. Kalokoh.