In a bid to instill and nurture the values of integrity and honesty in school pupils, the Southern Region office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), has reached out to pupils and teachers of St. Paul’s and Holy Rosary Secondary Schools at their various school campuses in Pujehun town, on 21st and 22nd October 2021, respectively.
In his statement, the Southern Regional Manager of the ACC, Momodu Sittar, described education as the key which unlocks a person’s intellectual ability and further acknowledged the relevance of basic and senior secondary education in human capital development. “A nation which prioritizes education does not only open a floodgate of opportunities to its citizens but also places the country on the right development trajectory,” he said.
Mr. Sittar outlined the positive strides that have been made by Government and its partners to improve on the country’s education which can be undermined if corruption is left unchecked. The ACC Regional boss recognized the efforts of patriotic teachers whom in the midst of competing challenges still do not compromise professionalism over materialism. However, he went on, the “ACC will not romance with the few rogues who pride themselves in derailing the country’s potential to attain Goal Four of the Sustainable Development Goal, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
Senior Public Education Officer ACC, Abdulai Saccoh said teachers have the moral responsibility to shape and nurture the attitudes and behaviours of the country’s future generation. Saccoh furthered that teachers should serve as role models to the pupils by exhibiting very high degree of moral rectitude. He said, because corrupt practices are being perpetrated by some unscrupulous teachers, they have left an indelible imprint in the minds of some pupils that the pathway to success is through the offering of bribes. He went on to catalogue some of the corrupt practices that are plaguing schools such as distortion of enrollment, regular demand of unauthorized charges, favoritism, illegal admission, sexual harassment, forgery of certificates, absenteeism, nepotism, payment for tests and assignment papers, among others.
Saccoh informed teachers and school authorities of ACC's unwavering determination to working with them to change negative public perception about their profession and serve justice to those who come into conflict with the law. He also emphasized the need for punctuality in in the discharge of their duties as a show of commitment to quality service delivery. He admonished students to adhere to laid down procedures, rules and regulations in order to fully benefit from the Free Quality Education program.
Dilating on the purpose of the meeting, ACC’s Public Education Officer, Mohamed A. Kabba, described the engagement as the Commission's strategic approach to engage schools on the adverse effects of corruption, and how they could partner with the ACC to tackle corruption in the school environment. Mr. Kabba stated that the country's education has been plagued with pervasive corruption and maintained that the past educational glory could only be restored if all stakeholders are willing to join forces with the ACC to stamp out graft.
The Public Education Officer also noted that, fighting corruption should not be the business of ACC alone but rather a civic responsibility of all citizens.