Is GES corruption-free? Corruption and related activities are always directed towards the police, the judicial systems, and other public institutions, but not the Ghana Education Service.
Does this imply it does not happen in GES and in Education for that matter? Strangely, the Ghana Corruption Report 2020 did not mention the Education Sector in Ghana as a place where corruption is endemic. Corruption, no matter how small it may be, poses an obstacle to the effective operations of the education sector in Ghana.
Corruption acts as a barrier to education, either because it makes the cost of acquiring an education prohibitive, or because the act of education simply does not take place in the designated space. It follows that, where educators are absent, individuals are deprived of the fundamental right of education – UNODC.ORG
A worried commentator on the Ghanaeducation.org Facebook page had this to say.
People are entering the teaching profession not because they have a passion for it but because it is the only available job.
Refuse to bribe your way through and you will remain a pauper. Government must set up an investigation committee into the modus operandi of the authorities in charge and they will see the rot in the recruitment of teachers into the Ghana Education Service.
At the just ended SHS selection exercise, some parents paid whopping sums of money to get their kids into their chosen school.
I am so much hurt and disturbed because the image of the once noble profession is nothing to write home about lately. To pass your exam just dole out some “notes” and don’t even write it. You are sure to pass creditably! What the hell we are living in!
In our attempt to sample views of our cherished readers in an anonymous poll on whether GES is corruption-free, it turned out that 72% of respondents disagreed and hold the view that corruption acts persist in the education sector and the GES for that matter. The remaining 28% were of the view that indeed the GES is corruption-free.
Although only 142 persons responded to the poll, the result gives a clear indication of what may be happening within the Ghana Education Service and the education sector at large on the blind side of society, government, and key stakeholders.
The corruption practices may be occurring but maybe under-reported or never mentioned hence the seeming absence of it.
Some of the activities that happen which constitute acts of corruption in the Ghana Education Services include the advertisement of protocol slots for fees, paying for SHS placement for students into some specific schools among others.
Corrupt practices in the education sector lead to having ghost names of the payroll of the GES, Absenteeism of teachers which are known and covered up by superiors (The upcoming 2020 population census will make this flourish for 21 days), nepotism, fake diplomas that do not even exist in awarding institutions, undue political influence in every sector on the education landscape can not be ignored.
The reality is that corruption in Education is more insidious than in other sectors; it is breading a situation where we have swelling numbers in various ranks with many in there being incompetent leaders and professionals. Once corruption is allowed to flourish, it prevents the poor and vulnerable from obtaining an education.
The Trail of corruption in the education sector in general
Every parent is under pressure to ensure a good future is secured for their ward (s) hence, they will be compelled to offer indirect bribes for grades by giving teachers gifts on special days, teachers may also receive direct bribes for grades from students and sometimes administration of schools always get bribed to do so many things including offering a student who is not qualified or qualified admission.
According to the Anti-corruption Resource Centre, corruption in pre-tertiary education has a serious effect on policy-making and planning, school management and procurement, and teacher conduct. What happened to the Free SHS feeding investigations? Those in leadership whose appointment has been terminated only got restored after 72 hours and nothing much has been done about it.
Corruption in education threatens the well-being of society because it erodes social trust and worsens inequality. It sabotages development by undermining the formation of educated, competent, and ethical individuals for future leadership and the labour force.
Corruption contributes to poor education outcomes. Diversion of school funds robs schools of resources, while nepotism and favouritism can put unqualified teachers in classrooms. Bid-rigging may result in textbooks and supplies of inferior quality. When families must pay bribes for services, this puts poor students at a disadvantage and reduces equal access to education. Teachers’ demands for sex may cause girl students to drop out of school.
GES related acts that will pass as corruption
These acts listed above are in fact unethical practices that are common in schools and education offices. Once those in positions take key decisions and do so only after they have been influenced or compromised with bribes (undeserved gifts), falsifying grades and allowing cheating, admitting unqualified students, etc will surely go on.
Sometimes, the leadership is able to put pressure on subordinates or other officers working in the education sector to make decisions that will play along with the corrupt practices. Let us ask ourselves, why should teachers pay between GHS200 and GHS400 to get point jump/incremental jump corrected for them, change of management unit, reactivation of salary, correction of name (spelling mistake) on their files, and the correction of SSNIT number among others?
These are the duties to be carried out by employees in the GES with the help of other government institutions like the Controller and Accountant General’s Department yet, we compel teachers to pay their way through if they are to get the needed solutions.
During school placements, admission into colleges of education, the posting of newly trained teachers applicants who pass and deserve to be considered for slots available, and those without the requisite pass or requirements compete for the slots through paying of huge sums.
Those who advertise these opportunities require interested persons to pay money to be assisted. and some of them are teachers who are reaping their colleagues. Why sale protocol slots? If this is not corruption, what is it?
Others will argue that these are scams but the reality is that there are genuine but corruption clouded ones out there and many have paid their way through using these unacceptable corrupt practices which do not allow the laws and laid down systems and requirements to work.
During the BECE registration every year, the offices charged to receive registration documents from schools in the GES offices often collect what they call processing fees. Such monies are received by asking submitting officers to sign for returning the required registration materials. They also sign an unofficial exercise book and pay the so-called processing fees. In instances where one delays, he or she is tasked to buy a rim of A-4 sheets. These are all acts of corruption because there is nowhere in the registration of BECE candidates’ guidelines where schools are to pay any money to GES officials receiving such documents on behalf of WAEC. They receive these monies and no receipt is issued, the money never ends up in government accounts but individual pockets.
A big question is, are some teachers paying their way through when it comes to the Promotion examination and teacher licensure examination? We need Anas and Manasseh Azure to expose the rot in the Ghana Education Service as soon as possible. This will start an important debate that will go a long way to help sanitize the system and bring to the fore the very pathetic acts that will pass as corruption in the Ghana Education Service. It is time to empower Anas and Manasseh Azure to do an investigation at the various MMD Education directorate and especially the HRMD department.
According to the Ghana Corruption Report 2020 by Transparency international, Ghana has a strong anti-corruption legal framework in place but faces challenges of enforcement.
Gifts and other gratuities offered to civil servants with the aim of influencing their duties are illegal. Nonetheless, facilitation payments are not defined in law.
The Ghana Education Service is not managed by saints, neither do we have only good and since people working through the rank and file. The time to break the corruption port in the GES is now or never.