The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has uncovered widespread corruption within the public education system, with unqualified foreign teachers hired for a fee, diversion of budgets, conflict of interest and grades for sale.
Responding to Mmegi enquiries on the matter recently, the watchdog’s spokesperson, Nlayidzi Gambule said the instances uncovered in the sector were of concern. “We know that corruption is alive within the Ministry of Education and Skills Development and this is a concern to the DCEC,” he said. Receiving the lion’s share of the recurrent budget annually, the Ministry has become a honey pot for corruption and similar practices in the system. This year, the Ministry was allocated P11.2 billion.
Some of the instances uncovered
by the DCEC include:
* The employment of under-qualified foreign teachers for a fee at the Department of Teachers Service Management,
* Graft in the procurement of goods and services in all ministry departments,
* Conflict of interest amongst teachers who run businesses that are awarded tenders by the Ministry,
* Continued sponsorship in local colleges of students who have failed and discontinued their studies, by the Department of Tertiary Education Finance,
* Budgetary resources stolen leading to overcrowded classrooms and crumbling schools,
* Schools and universities selling enrollment and charging unauthorised fees, resulting in some students being forced out, and
* Grades being bought and teachers forcing students to pay for tuition outside of class
Gambule said the DCEC had come up with a number of initiatives to curb corruption within the ministry.
“A Corruption Prevention Committee was established to spearhead corruption risk management.
An anti-corruption unit was also formed to conduct preliminary investigations on reported allegations of corruption and related activities and conduct transactions monitoring on past and current projects,” he said.
The interventions have, however, had mixed results when the corruption watchdog seeks to prosecute.
“We normally encounter insufficient evidence to prosecute, because some reports are from anonymous sources who could have assisted with the investigation, but chose anonymity and cannot be traced for feedback. Some reports are ultimately found to be hearsay with no truth in the contents of the report,” Gambule said.