The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission or LACC says a corruption risk assessment launched in the education sector revealed that 90 percent of students interviewed from 10 Monrovia-based schools say they are asked for bribes.
“Ninety percent (90%) of the students in the schools assessed say they have been asked to pay bribe. Thirty-six percent (36%) of the students say they pay bribe for good grades, 27% say they paid for promotion to higher grades. 45 percent say they pay bribes to teachers, 15 percent (15%) say they pay to register, 10 percent say they pay to principals,” said Cllr. James Verdier.
The LACC Executive Chairperson, Cllr. James Verdier spoke Thursday at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism’s regular press briefing on Capitol Hill.
He told journalists that another ten percent of students say they pay bribes to their school principals; while the statistics further indicate that money is paid for higher grades to promote students from one class to the other.
The anti-graft boss observed from the assessment that he said was conducted in recent times that some challenges facing schools here is that unqualified teachers would perpetually stay away from classes to hide their deficiency.
During the brief appearances of these “unqualified teachers,” Cllr. Verdier says they would give tough assignments to students purposely aiming that they would fail and in return solicit bribes from the students for high grades.
“Challenge in the Education sector of the country – instructors absenteeism and the frequency of bribe payments [in] schools across Montserrado (37% they are absent because they are sick),” said Cllr. Verdier.
The LACC chief laments that these are the students who turn out to become future Minister of Finance, Public Works, Auditor Generals, among others, despite the academic challenges they encounter.
He however emphasized that corruption needs to be tackled at the grassroots level, expressing fear that failure to deal with it in schools, the “society is doom.”
By Winston W. Parley