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‘Poverty is a dreadful disease that affects the world’

December 9, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Edwin Nyamoh, a pupil of the Albert Academy Senior Secondary School has described poverty as a ‘dreadful disease that was affecting Africa and the world at large,’ adding that it was also one of the main factors that was promoting corruption in society.

The Senior Secondary School level four pupil was on Wednesday debating on the topic ‘Poverty or corruption, which is more dreadful’ at Santano House, Howe Street in Freetown, during a debate  session organised by the Anti-Corruption Commission to mark the commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day.

Edwin Nyamoh, who represented the Albert Academy, emerged as the winner of the debate in which three other senior secondary schools, including the Prince of Wales, Saint Joseph (Convent), and Services Senior Secondary School participated.

In his first round of debate on the topic ‘Teachers and pupils who should take greater responsibility for incidences of bribery in School,’ he argued that pupils should be blamed because they have ‘abandoned’ their studies for idle engagements and were ready to pay any amount of money for them to be promoted to another level at the end of every academic year.

“Mr. Chairman and Panel of Judges, you were going to school when doctors were doctors and professors were professors but not in our own days when teachers are disc jokers (DJs) ,while we the pupils are dancers. We the pupils have abandon our studies and now busy with idle things. Imagine that a teacher is being paid nine hundred thousand Leones and in a case where a pupil offers him or her five hundred thousand Leones, he or she will defiantly take the money from the pupil,” he argued.

Adama Benya from the Saint Joseph School also argued that teachers should take the greatest responsibility on the grounds that some of them did not have passion for the teaching profession, and at the end of every year, they would demand money or other things in order to grade pupils.

Mohamed Tafsir Fofanah of the Services Senior Secondary School, who debated with Prince of Wales Andrew Washington-Kargbo   on the topic ‘Education is worthless without integrity,’ argued against the motion, stating that ‘integrity is worthless without education.’

He argued that what led to the underdevelopment of Sierra Leone was the lack of education “because when the colonial masters came into the country, they pretended to have integrity and fooled our uneducated leaders to sign treaties that enabled them took the country’s minerals away.”

Andrew Washington-Kargbo of the Prince of Wales argued that despite the fact that the leaders have been educated but they cannot be good examples because they lacked integrity, adding that “integrity is what is needed to better a nation.”

Speaking at the ceremony, ACC Deputy Commissioner, Shollay Davies, said the International Anti-Corruption Day was observed annually on 9th December, and that the campaign was to raise awareness and educate the public about issues around corruption and it effect on society.

He said the day was observed as a way to promoting and strengthening measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively.    

He said this year; they decided to celebrate it with school children by organising a debate on issues surrounding corruption in Sierra Leone “because they are the ones who mostly suffer from the negative effect of corruption in the country.”

He said the commission was aware of the fact that pupils pay bribes to teachers in school, either in cash or in kind, which he said they were very much concerned about.

He disclosed that the commission and DIFID had recently signed an agreement called, ‘the pay no bribe campaign’ and called on the pupils to make sure they report any corruption matter to the commission.

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