The Public Education Officer (PEO) of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in the North-West Region, Mohamed Thullah has told School administrators, staff and pupils that schools are not revenue generation agencies where the prevalence of illegal charges and other forms of extortion has seriously contributed to the drop in standards performance of pupils across the country.
He made this statement during a "Meet the School" campaign at the Sanda Magbonlontor and Baptist Scarcies Secondary Schools in Sanda Magbonlontor and Mambolo Chiefdoms on the 29th and 30th September respectively.
Speaking at the respective engagements, PEO Thullah recognized the role of teachers and their contribution to nation building and accentuated their critical role in building the country's human resource base. Explaining the significance of education to national transformation, he stated that the drop in the standard of education was as a result of the sustained presence of corruption in the sector adding that ACC has demonstrated firm resolve to bringing sanity to the education sector and reversing the negative trend that has permeated the school system. "Illegal charges, extortion and other forms of bribery and other malfeasance have eaten deep and the results have been devastating on the crop of students produced," he noted.
The Public Education Officer highlighted various corrupt practices that have plagued the sector including but not limited to illegal admission, falsification of report cards, payment for report cards, payment for assignment or test, absenteeism, sex for grades, payment for extra classes, bribes paid by parents to teachers and public officials to get grades and pass exams, diversion of school fees subsidies and other supplies, double dipping etc.
PEO Thullah stated that examinations malpractice and the misuse of school fees subsidies are issues of great concern to the ACC and emphasized that such practice amount to punishable offence in the 2019 amendment Act of the ACC to a fine of fifty million Leones or five years jail term.
He cautioned school administrators and teachers to desist from corrupt practices and always adhere and conform to the dictates of the education policy. He encouraged both staff and pupils to resist, reject and report any attempt or suspicion of corruption and to imbibe the virtues and values of integrity in whatever they do.
During the brief meetings with the teachers of the respective schools, the Regional Manager Al-hassan Sesay provided a concise explanation of related corruption offences and underscored the role of school administrators to combating bribery in schools. He informed them that as public officers, they must be mindful of the ACC laws and conform to the guidelines of the education policy and the Teachers’ code of conduct. He emphasized issues relating to attendance, absenteeism, double dipping, time theft and misappropriation of school fees subsidies. In their various responses, the teachers of both schools commended and thanked the ACC for the sensitization and guidance. They pledged their support towards the fight against corruption and promised to desist from levying illegal charges forthwith.
Questions, comments and answers and the presentation of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Materials formed part of the campaign.