SA role models seen as corrupt

Katharine Child

THE role models of South African youth – teachers, principals and school governing body members – have been implicated in widespread corruption.

Some teachers sell test papers or ask for favours in exchange for better marks, and principals and governing bodies misuse school funds.

This is according to NGO Corruption Watch, which commissioned a survey with Mxit’s company Pondering Panda to gauge the extent of the problem. It did so after the sheer number of calls it received from people reporting school corruption.

Director David Lewis said: “The educational environment is one in which teachers and principals are not merely there to deliver a service but they are also role models.

“The long-term consequences of corruption in schools are particularly disturbing.”

The misuse of school money was the biggest problem the 3284 respondents reported. The majority of the respondents were pupils at government schools or FET college students:

  • 70% blame school principals for misusing money or property;

  • 60% said teachers asked for favours in exchange for marks;

  • Selling test papers was a problem particularly in Mpumalanga;

  • Misuse of money was common in the North West and the Free State; and

  • The Eastern Cape had the most corrupt principals.

Director at the Legal Resources Centre Sarah Sephton, who is involved in multiple court cases involving schools in the province, said she was not surprised at the survey results.

“In the Eastern Cape, school feeding has been outsourced to schools. We hear of teachers taking the meat and giving students inferior food.

“The corruption is from the top down in the Eastern Cape. They don’t pay teachers or service providers.”

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