The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday hosted a conference to discuss issues surrounding the progress and challenges of Integrity Clubs established in some secondary schools in Freetown.
The meeting at the Saint Anthony Parish Hall, brought together representatives from Integrity Clubs in fifteen (15) secondary schools in the western area, who were tasked alongside their Teacher Coordinators to develop an activity plan that would take the clubs to another level.
According to the Head of the Public Education and Outreach Unit, Michael Sesay, the rationale behind the conference was to diagnose the problems responsible for the low performance of integrity clubs in the Western Area.
He said the reason for the establishment of the clubs was for the commission to engage those in schools to serve as role models by educating their peers, as well as changing the thoughts and behaviour of their colleagues and by extension, teachers.
"We recognized the efforts of members of these clubs over the years. Integrity clubs are devoid of corruption and have members of integrity. We thought it fit to bring partners, including school pupils to help us in the corruption fight by establishing these clubs," he said.
He urged the coordinators and members of the various clubs to take ownership of the clubs,as according to him, the ACC will only help in facilitating what should be done to move the clubs forward.
Representing Teachers' Coordinators, Mr. Sesay, thanked the commission for such a gathering, while citing breakdown in communication with the ACC as one of the challenges hampering the progress of the clubs.
He called for more educational materials to be made available by the ACC because not all members of the clubs were au fit with issues relating to corruption, as well as the ways of preventing it.
"We are very much sure that after this conference, things will change for the better. We want to be more engage in the fight against corruption," he said.
Also, ACC Senior Public Education Officer, Al-Hassan Sesay said: "Your role is to serve as peer educators. The clubs are not meant to police the activity of school administration and teachers but rather to change their behaviors for the better."
He said the intention for establishing the integrity clubs was to correct the many wrongs in the school system and urged members to serve as role models in their academic work.
He disclosed that they now have thirty-seven (37) Integrity Clubs in secondary schools across the country.