The practice of quiet corruption in public schools in Lagos state was a major issue discussed at a one day forum organised recently by Human Development Initiative (HDI) in collaboration with Trust Africa.
Themed “State Mechanisms for Addressing Inappropriate Behaviours in Public Schools in Lagos State”, had in attendance teachers and school administrators in the state.
Executive director of HDI, Olufunso Owasanoye described quiet corruption as a practice that goes on in the school environment without many noticing it.
Owasanoye went further to explain that such practice include; absenteeism from the school by the students, inability to copy notes and copy correctly, going to school with mufti in their bags to wear after or before school hours, failure to do their assignment as at when due and a host of others.
She observed that these abnormal behaviours by the school children had negatively affected their performance in both internal and external examinations.
However, she blamed parents for the awkward behaviour of their wards, adding that “Parents who are mindful of what their wards do, usually discipline them without delay when they behave badly.
Some parents are not careful of what their children do in the school, they do not check whether they are given assignment or not, some of the female students put mufti in their school bags so as to dress in such wear and go wherever they like after school hours. They do this often without their parents noticing it. It ought not to be so, parents and guardians particularly mothers should monitor the activities of their wards and by so doing, in no distant time the practice of quiet corruption among school children will be reduced if not totally eradicated”, she noted.
Presenting findings on quiet corruption in public education institutions in Lagos State, Research and Programme Officer HDI, Olayemi Samuel observed that the practice had eaten deep into the fabric of the education system in the country.
Enumerating other forms of quiet corruption going in secondary school, he said they include compulsory sales of study materials and payment for extra lessons.
While that of tertiary institution, he said include, sales of study materials, favouritism, sexual harassment, sex for grade among others.
He described paying for extra lesson as the most common experience of parents with children in primary and secondary school and added that such practice had become an integral part of teaching activities in many schools.
Continuing he said; “Paying for extra lesson is a traditional means through which teachers augment their income. Parents in primary and secondary school report that this impact on them negatively.”
The researcher therefore advocated for more awareness on the ills associated with quiet corruption, saying that such efforts would go a long way in eradicating the menace from the education system not only in Lagos, but other states in the country.
Assistant Director, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Shoremekun Joseph Olugbenga who also spoke during the forum, blamed the practice of quiet corruption on government, teachers, pupils and parents.
“I can say it is the fault of all including; the government, teachers, parents and the pupils. On the side of the government, government is quick in making promises without fulfilling it. Take for instance, the government of the day during their last political campaign promised free meal and to create a conducive learning environment, they never fulfilled such promises. When you visit some public schools during raining season, you will discover that some schools and the roads leading to them are bad. On the side of the parents, some of the parents cannot provide meal allowance for their children, just because the government promised to do so, they will dress their children for school in the morning without giving them food or money to buy food. Some of the parents and guardians also find it difficult to provide writing materials for their children, they believe that it is the duty of the government to make such provisions for their wards”, Olugbenga added.
While describing teaching as a job of the conscience, he affirmed that most teachers are not living up to expectations when it comes to carrying out their duties as character molders.
Explaining further he said:Some of the teachers are lazy, they absent themselves from schools and sometimes instead of copying note for their students, they will give their notes to students to copy for others in the class which is wrong, this is because such student may copy nonsense on the board and others will follow to copy nonsense as well.
On the other, he urged school children in public schools to be discipline and respectful to their teachers.
On the other hand, he appealed to government at all levels to ensure they fulfill whatever promise they made to the populace.
Speaking earlier, Oyetola from the Lagos state ministry of Education commended the organisers of the event, promising that all that were discussed will be taken care of by the ministry.
Oyetola advised both the pupils and teachers to ensure they report to appropriate authority whenever they witness any form of quiet corruption going on in the school.