The wide- spread practice of corruption and other acts of unprofessionalism in the education sector has had a negative influence on many students’ ability to adhere to ethical principles and norms such as integrity, accountability, transparency and even openness while in school, said Eze Harris Chuma. Adding that: In most cases, students are forced to give bribes, steal, oppress and build clusters of violent networks in an effort to sail through the pressure and unethical demands made by their teachers, school prefects and even gatemen. A society where the environment of learning is perceived as a market place for the demand and supply of corruption and fraud will not be able to sustain itself in the long term as its citizens lose touch with values of equity, transparency, honesty, accountability and a sense of justice; considered key in driving development, growth, equitable distribution of wealth and well-being.
As active agents and advocates of participatory governance, inclusive development, integrity and justice, TLI ANTI-CORRUPTION UNIT strives to reverse the ongoing trend and cycle of corruption which has taken hold of the education sector in Nigeria by implementing series of training programs and initiatives with students in secondary and tertiary schools with the objective of cleaning the mindset and culture of corruption that is building itself in our schools and learning environment and exposing young people to corruption as far as our development and growth are concerned. Engaging students by monitoring classroom corruption by teachers, extortion by school gatemen, and exchange of marks for sex by male teachers and payment of bribes to school prefects, have proven to be very effective in addressing corruption as it manifests.
The importance of engaging our youths in anti-corruption cannot be overestimated. It can also help change attitudes and mores and build zero-tolerance for corruption where the problem is seen as an acceptable fact of life.
Educating and bringing youths into the anti-corruption movement is a top priority. It’s our youths that will stop the flow of graft tomorrow.
TLI is set to organize Transparency and Accountability weeks in high schools in Lagos State, Ogun State, FCT, Imo State, Rivers State, and Enugu State.
We are set to train students to curb corruption and increase transparency at the Government High Schools.
TLI can provide input and assist with strategies to promote accountability. School managers mostly lack functional competencies to combat corruption and should be trained. Student stakeholder groups will be involved and multi-stakeholder approach is required to fight corruption in a non-confrontational way.
If we are to fight corruption in the education sector, we have to bring in all stakeholders and most importantly the students. After all, it is the students who have most to gain by getting access to efficient and cost-effective education. And by converting the younger generation into “anti-corruption believers and activists”, we have a chance to establish a sustainable and growing anti-corruption effort.