Sierra Leone: ACC Urges Heads of Schools in Masiaka to Stand Against Corruption

The Regional Manager of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Tuesday 17th February 2021 called on Principals and Head Teachers in Masiaka and its environs to stand up against bribery in schools and support the fight against corruption.

In his address to heads of primary and secondary schools at the Bishop George Catholic Secondary School in Masiaka, the Regional Manager Al-Hassan Sesay said the ACC values the role of teachers ad considers their role very important in the development of the sector. The meeting, he said, was convened to remind school administrators of their roles and responsibilities and for them to do more in their monitoring and supervisory functions to combat illegal charges and key corruption demands in their various schools.

He lamented that examinations malpractice continues to be one of the major causes for the drop in standards in schools and emphasized the Commission's position and commitment in taking necessary actions to curbing it. He further stated that extortion boils down to illegal charges like payment for late coming and absenteeism, payment for report cards, payment for assignment, test and extra classes among others which have contributed to the abysmal performance of pupils in public examination. Manager Sesay emphasized that the 2019 Amendment ACT of the ACC makes examination malpractice a punishable offence with fifty million Leones on conviction or five years imprisonment. "If teachers put more efforts in class, there will be no need for extra classes," he pinpointed.

Commenting on the use of fees subsidies, he said they are public funds and are provided to cushion the cost on parents and must be properly used for its intended purpose. He pointed out the anomalies observed in the just concluded head count of school which gives an indication of inflation of school rolls and will require the ACC's intervention in fighting the wrongs in the system. He warned school heads to desist from corrupt practices and ensure their operations are in accordance with best practices and procedures.

ACC's Senior Public Education Officer Samuel Junisa Sankoh described school administrators as change agents and must demonstrate the commitment to reversing the negatives in the sector. He also explained several reporting mechanisms and encouraged them to take the needed steps in resisting, rejecting and reporting corruption at all times. Public Education Officer Mohamed Thullah while explaining the purpose of the meeting, said the engagement was to educate school authorities on the 2019 Amendment Act, guidelines on the use of fees subsidies and to solicit support in addressing corrupt practices in schools.

The Chairman Conference of Principals Francis Edward Koroma expressed delight for having an engagement with the ACC on issues that borders on their operations adding that the meeting will serve as platform for knowledge sharing and guidance on their work. His counterpart, John Amadu Bangura who spoke on behalf of the National Council of Head Teachers in Masiaka also expressed similar sentiments and promised to work in consonant with the law for an improved system of learning in their schools.

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