The International Consultant at the Ministry of Public Works, Mr. Peter N. Kerbay says if Liberians can fight corruption to be minimized, it must start in schools where the minds of people can be modeled.
Speaking at the 16th Thanksgiving Service and closing exercise of the Christ Foundation Elementary and Junior High School in the edifice of the S. Trowen Nagbe United Methodist Church in Sinkor on June 28, 2009, Mr. Kerbay observed that no other way corruption can be minimized if it is practiced in schools and students are learning it.
He said no one else can make Liberia corruption free but Liberians themselves. He said if this goal can be achieved, then government and parents who play cardinal role in the education system need to take all necessary steps to abolish corrupt practices in the school system.
Mr. Peter Kerbay who spoke on the theme, “The fight against corruption in Liberian schools”, noted that the fight against corruption in schools has nothing to do with the Ministry of Education but involves the collaborative efforts of parents, administration of schools and regulatory policy designed by government.
He said if students who are going to school to learn get to see teachers selling grades to students, sexually exploiting females for good grades when they (female) fail in a test and allowing students to pay money for a test which they cannot take but receive passing grades at the end, it means that the students will take it in as part of the education they have gone to acquire.
He said with this, corruption will always exist in every sector in the society and no one will consider it as evil even as it is the worst enemy to mankind.
Mr. Kerbay in his speech stressed that there need to be public awareness on corrupt practices that exist in the school system so parents, teachers and the students can be abreast of the danger it causes the society.
He said as a result of the corrupt practices in the education system, the examination process in the country cannot be credible and it can be difficult for people to determine its quality outcome.
Stressing other unethical issues, the Public Works Consultant said drunkenness on the parts of teachers as well as other favor for private gain need to be battled to bring improvement in the education sector.
He warned that if Liberians do not realize their shortcomings to adapt accountability and train teachers for effective work in the system, the upcoming generation will suffer the consequences of corruption; thereby carrying the country behind in the West African sub region.
Meanwhile, corruption is as old as mankind and it has been in the society, but its rampant emergence into the education sector, especially in schools, started during the war years.
Prior to the war, private schools could attract more students because parents felt they were on time in paying their teachers and the learning atmosphere was better as bribery was seriously restricted.
For the government schools teachers were not encouraged to teach because a lot of them were denied of salaries and those who could get salaries were unable to get it on time; therefore, irregularities on the parts of teachers were too much.
During that time, payment of money for free grades was very rare for the fact that many students could not afford the money to pay.
When more schools had sprung up during and after the war, proprietors and administrations adapted the act of denying teachers their salaries and what they offer could not enable teachers cope with the economic condition. As a result, rampant corruption emerged with students solely relying on paying money or females giving themselves to have sex with male teachers for grades.