April 30, 2019
By Mohamed Massaquoi
The Public Education Officer of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Kenema has on Tuesday,23rd of April, 2019, told Principals of Secondary Schools that a spirited fight against corruption will not only help eliminate poor conditions of service, but also other everyday challenges facing the nation.
Sylvanus Blake was addressing a general meeting of the Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools-Sierra Leone (CPSS) at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall, along Blama Road in Kenema.
The three days conference which attracted Principals of Junior and Senior Secondary Schools across Sierra Leone, is an annual event of the CPSS aimed at providing a platform for deliberations and agreement on effective management of Secondary Schools.
The theme for the 2019 Conference is “the synergy between Free Quality Education and Quality Teaching”.
Sylvanus Blake stated that it was apparent that Free Quality Education is a dream that cannot be achieved without quality teaching, hence making the 2019 theme very apt. He told his audience that the ACC was quite aware of the undisputable fact that there were huge obstacles to the delivery of quality teaching.
Key among them, he said includes poor conditions of service, weak commitment to work, lack of integrity, unhealthy competitions, which have triggered desperate attempts by some parents, pupils and school heads/teachers to manipulate exams/results, moral decadence.
Blake stated that unattractive salary is just among the several issues surrounding poor conditions of services which also includes, promotions, transfers, allowances, study opportunities and added that if those opportunities are accorded to staff in a fair, even and transparent manner, it can lead to staff motivation and good performance.
Blake stated that the ACC was aware that improving the salaries of staff could serve as an incentive to stay away from Corruption and do a good job.
He however stated that what remains very clear is that most of those who are involved in grand corruption are not poorly paid, adding that integrity should be the watch word if people should do their duties devoid of corruption
Sylvanus Blake highlighted the key achievements of the ACC in the past nine months under the leadership of Francis Ben Keifala Esq, which have certainly changed the tide in favour of the nation.
Key among them being the recovery of over 12 billion Leones by the ACC from investigations, the proposed amendments of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, the establishment of special Anti-Corruption court for quick triail of ACC cases, 100% convictions on all cases etc. Blake stated that the Ben Keifala leadership of the ACC have taken the good fight against corruption to the corruption in a manner never seen before in this nation, and solicited the unflinching support of his audience to the ACC.
He stated that the position of the ACC on corruption in the schools remains the same like all others, the quantum of money involved notwitstanding. He stated that corruption in the schools attack the very production process of the very human capital on which the wheels of national development rides and asserted that such a scurge cannot be left unattended. “If the products are bad, you don’t go to the market and start seizing them. That will not end it. You go to the factory and correct it right from there”. He stated the ACC was just doing that.
He warned heads of schools against the misuse of Free Quality materials and resources including school fees subsidies and practices that can constitute corruption as contained in the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act, and the corresponding punishments. He ended that the ACC Commissioner had long drawn the RED LINE and urged all to stay on the side of the law.