Corruption rife at schools

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iol news pic School feeding scheme hungry INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS File picture: Henk Kruger

Johannesburg - There is massive evidence of corruption in schools, a Corruption Watch report revealed on Thursday.

The organisation said 12 percent of reports on corruption it had received since its inception in 2012 related to alleged corruption in schools.

Corruption Watch spokeswoman Patience Mkosana said her organisation received reports of corruption directly from the public and then followed them up through door-to-door investigations.

The reports indicated that principals, school governing body (SGB) members and, to an extent, teachers, manipulated and abused the school system to enrich themselves.

The concerns ranged from abuse of public funds received for infrastructure maintenance and upgrading, and sourcing of learning materials, to funding of feeding schemes.

The organisation conducted a survey after receiving reports on corruption at schools. It was conducted through social networking platform Mxit and sampled 3284 respondents aged between 13 and 34.

Fifty-three percent of this group believed corruption in schools was on the rise. Almost half of the respondents were pupils at school or at a further education and training college, while 31 percent were family members of a school pupil.

At least 30 percent of pupils surveyed were from public schools and eight percent were from private schools. There was no major difference between corruption at public schools and corruption at private schools.

Favours for better marks and the selling of exam papers were the most common forms of bribery. The selling of test and exam papers was a particular problem in Mpumalanga, where 23 percent of respondents believed it happened.

The misuse of school money or property was especially prevalent in the Free State, according to 30 percent of respondents, and the North West (31 percent).

The main person behind such corruption, according to 47 percent of the respondents, was the school principal. Thirty-three percent said it was teachers and 14 percent claimed an SGB member was the culprit.

The Eastern Cape was the province perceived to have the most corrupt principals, according to 61 percent of respondents. The Free State had the worst teachers, and the Northern Cape the most corrupt SGB members, according to respondents.


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