ACC takes the crusade against corruption to schools in Freetown
As part of the Anti-Corruption Commission’s sensitization, awareness raising and the empowering of pupils and teachers in the educational sector, the Commission has taken the Anti-graft crusade to schools in Freetown, during what is referred to as “Meet the school Campaign.” (Photo: Ahmadiyya Secondary School)
This extensive event which commenced in May and ended on the 19th June 2012, has equipped many school pupils and teachers with knowledge on corruption and the operations of the ACC. The message disseminated to the schools and the reasons for such engagement, as catalogued by the team of ACC officials, were very clear and motivational.
Like a vicious circle, corruption is being transmitted from one generation to the other through various means. If the fight against corruption is to be sustainable the children that hold the future should be part of the formulation and implementation process of the Anti-Graft policies. The reason for teaching school children on corruption and its devastating effect is couched in one phrase which is to “capture them young”. If children can now imbibe the virtues of integrity, transparency, accountability, and patriotism; when they become adults they would exhibit the same in their public life.
In these meetings, Pupils were guided and encouraged to desist from acts of low integrity. When pupils come to school late, dress recklessly, abuse, fight, steal and cheat in examinations or offer bribes for grades, these are referred to as attributes of low integrity. Invariably, a child who usually steals or cheats in an examination has the tendency to embezzle public funds, when he starts working as an adult. Integrity was impressed in the minds of pupils as the watch word and the golden principle.
The team of ACC officials cautioned teachers and heads of schools on the mischievous practices going on in schools, which has resulted to the appalling standards in the educational system of this country, adding that the Commission frowns at extortion or illegal charges in schools. From the interactions with pupils in various secondary schools, it is disheartening to realize that some teachers even ask for money for correcting assignments and for the awarding of marks, or they sometimes ask for sex in exchange for marks.
If we are to regain our dignity and morality, every Sierra Leonean should join in the fight against corruption in schools. The Commission which is the lead agency in the fight against corruption cannot do it all alone. Therefore, a clarion call was made to both pupils and teachers to see this fight as a national fight. Teachers and pupils were encouraged to report to the commission any corrupt practices going on in their respective communities or schools, as the free toll hotlines were made available to participants. Pupils were strongly cautioned not to send false reports about their teachers to the Commission, and assured them of the Commission’s protection against victimization, for reporting to the Commission. Each of the meetings was climaxed with a question and answer session, which were noted and taken to the Commission for consideration.
The following schools were visited at different schedules or meetings for both the JSS and the SSS at this first round of the “Meet the School Campaign”:Baptist Secondary School – Allen Town Richard Allen Secondary School – Kissy Methodist Boys High School – Kissy Ahmadiyya Secondary School – Kissy Annie Walsh Secondary School – Eastern Police Albert Academy Secondary School – Berry Street Freetown Secondary School for Girls – Broodfields Prince of Wales Secondary School – Kingtom Government Sec. Technical School – Congo Cross Collegiate Secondary School – Wilkinson Road Lady Patricia Kabba Memorial Secondary School – Goderich
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