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    Saturday, 9 July 2016

    The anatomy of corruption in schools





    SET a beggar on horseback and, for sure, he will ride to the devil, so the Englishman says. Beggar here refers to a rapacious and mean spirited person who, if spiritually diagnosed will reveal an acute lack of spiritual vitamins and an unsettled soul. This type of person has some strong undercurrents that make the surface choppy and their owner is the last man to know what they are.
    These miserable qualities in people holding public offices are fertile grounds for the development of corrupt tendencies.
    Corruption in Zimbabwe is so rampant in nearly all walks of life that the education system that moulds our children has not been spared by the venom of corruption. There are gross evil and corrupt practices that have pitifully too become the arched type of some schools and unfortunately so compromised the required tranquility in schools and the quality of education of our children.
    In this expose, I shall attempt to practically produce an x-ray examination of the anatomy of corruption in some schools. I shall not particularize but by nature of ubiquity of this scourge, it might mirror on many corrupt persons .The Englishman claims ,'every bullet has its billet' and in 'THINGS FALL APART' Chinua Achebe says, "When dry bones are mentioned in a proverb an old woman, will feel unease," tense and guilty if they have a conscience.
    I have with a keen eye observed the intricate ways by which the angles of corruption, I shall coin a term "CORRUPTOMANIAC" for the class of the people intoxicated with corruption and addicted to it and have some perpetual hangover of it. The corruption has meticulously planned, blooded over, hatched and weaned and eagerly executed corrupt practices that have evolved into some form of culture in some schools.
    This institutionalization of corruption is utterly detestable and contemptible .it has as earlier said, miserably compromised the required tranquility normalcy and harmony in schools and worse. Still the quality of education by frustrating capable teachers.
    The evils within a society are usually nurtured, propped up and perpetuated by the silence of the good people who just watch the situations degenerating beyond redemption .the Japanese-British psychologist Zimbardo calls this, 'the bystander effect' to explain the tendency in people to ignore issues in dire need for redress or rectification .But,  Margaret  Artwood  says ,'powerlessness and silence go closely together .We should use our positions not as a shelter from the world's reality but as a platform from which to speak. A voice is a gift; it should be cherished and used.'
    Everyone is a part of this world and it is unreasonable and irresponsible and more so connivance to tend to believe that someone else and not me shall blow the whistle.
    Corruptomaniacs, more often than not originate from the schools administration and cascades down the whole system in some septic manner. Fish stinks from head downwards.
    Corruption in schools may be explained summarily as follows:

    1.SCHOOL BASED APPOINTMENTS
    Normally the ministry of education requirements are that senior officers on the job or alternatively at the station be given some position of responsibility meant to harness their experience and also as a token of recognition for long service and loyalty to the employer.
    Some schools however do their  appointments  in reverse order of seniority either on the job or at    the station .Midnight appointments are done to purposefully and technically too, bring on board the gray train erstwhile comrades in corruption and for sure birds of a feather.
    In some secondary schools, twice in a period of ten years, primary trained teachers have been given preferential treatment by being offered influential administrative positions at the disgust of reasonable teachers and the community .The disgust originates from the sense that the appointed usually appears like a fossil bone which turns up in the wrong stratum thereby destroying a geological theory. This habit is without the sober ethics of sound management .A cop may not be given a higher office than more experienced army officers unless that is corruption .This habit at this particular school confirms what Paul Harrison in his book inside the third world, the anatomy of poverty says,' walking into a third world class is like walking into a piece of history,'where modern management ethics are unknown or deliberately or disregarded by use of instinct instead of intellect. Yes the going on are backward and archaic .In a sizeable number of schools the kingpins surround themselves with amenable dead wood in whose mouths they shove in some silver spoon .
    2. OBSCURANTISM
    This is the practice of deliberately stopping the spread of facts and ideas among the staff members, I am sorry to say that public institutions involve the public in their business and most certainly the staff involved must surely know everything about their schools. The staff must far in advance be fully informed and updated frequently about matters of the schools. In the schools there is a terrible lack of open communication. At most the head and deputy usurp the privilege of sitting on information. In one of his writings John Milton says "Truth and understanding are not such wares as to be monopolized and traded by tickets and statues and standards"
    In some schools as a result of obstruction there is total lack of transparency. The running of the school is very secretive the witch doctor style. Decisions are cephalocadal as in ancient papal Rome. Bright ideas are taken as a direct challenge or a confrontation. Luke at some school a very open minded teacher inquired in a staff meeting why a new and unoccupied house had its roof mended ahead of a leaking old house whose occupants had been complaining of some damage to personal belongings. The answer was so rude and shameless "Moda Kushumwa kuti mave vanamadyira here?" Totemism meant to evade a bright question and thwart crosspollination of ideas so mending an unoccupied house leaving an occupied one is proof and open testimony of a spirit that lacks spiritual vitamins. At most two shenanigans run the show, lacking the capacity to realize why the employer deploys the present compliment of staff at the school.
    Obscurantism rules supreme in the purchase of resources and offer of tenders for projects.
    3.  PURCHASE OF RESOURCES
    Resources are always purchased by the heads in some schools even if they have little or no knowledge about them. In the process some inflate the prices and pocket the difference. I remember some year when prices on textbooks were altered upwards to allow the difference to peacefully flow into someone's pockets. The parent is the person who suffers; there could be a lot of bills without merchandise in the schools.
    The kingpins in some schools gourmandize the chances to go to buy resources for departments even when they do not have the technical knowhow about those resources. They buy resources for practical subjects and in some cases buy substandard materials to the disadvantage of the parents who painstakingly struggle to qualify the under quality materials .If they are, the growth rate does not measure up to the book standards .the teachers take pains to explain  to the learners. If it is the feeds it is all the same.
    The corruptomaniacs benefit through transport and subsistence allowances .and the allowance they say swearingly shall be ours and ours alone some years back they used to boast openly that mbudzi inofura- payakasungirirwa to mean a goat grazes where it is tethered. This statement is testimony of the plunder of parents resources taking place in some schools money to allow at most three pupils to go for quiz competitions within the district is hard to come by but the admin is able to travel on school business regularly .But does logic that the child's parent is the one who pays the fees evade your plan? Some of those so-called heads meetings may be talk shows that may not benefit the child.
    4. CHEATING IN SPORTS
    The Englishman says,'the apple does not fall far from its tree, 'to mean the products of any system won't differ much from the system that produces them. No wonder why Zimbabwe has been rendered so corrupt, children are taught from primary school all the way to university. The country is hoisting in its own petard that is frying in its own fat.
    During sporting activities children are made to use other children's documents .Children learn that forgery, cheating and dishonesty is of benefit. This develops bad blood in children and always bad blood carries with it a warrant for dishonesty and falsehoods.
    In later life children so trained cheat in their marriages, as men they cheat on their wives and as women they cheat on their husbands. In one of her books, Ellen G White explains 'more than any natural endowment, the habits established in early years decide whether a man will be victorious  or vanquished in the battle of life and the life to come.'
    As sure as in the e way Noah sent the dove from the ark and surely returned with the ivy leaf on its beak or as surely as the hounds of Pavlov would salivate at the sound of the bell, our children are bound to be corrupt and in the future corruption is going to be worse if the seed of corruption among the schools is not eradicated forthwith.
    Surely cheating in sports should attract a stiff penalty by the law, if the education system is willing to save this nation .the system cannot continue allowing rotten potatoes among the children, lest they injure them.
    If top officials in the education system are not as well corrupt then something must be done urgently to stop the propagation of corruption among the innocent children.
    It might be difficult to stop corruption when one is inside the education system because people of the east say he who rides a tiger is afraid of dismounting fearing that it might turn against him and maul him .I am very sure some are very comfortable when the proverb when you want to live in a river you must be friends with the crocodiles feed on whatever they eat and survive .some people benefit from corruption.
    During sporting competitions the school heads demand allowances far above the people who do the donkey work, the trainers and game officials.
    There are times when the heads go for national conferences which I feel are talk shows that benefit the learners little or nothing .the government is financially strained and feels that attending those conferences is more of a disadvantage to the economy than an advantage.
    5. DISCIPLINARY ISSUES OF PUPILS
    Some schools have taken criminal matters that are supposed to be handled by the police to be theirs .this has perpetuated indiscipline in children. Marijuana smokers at schools are supposed to be handed over to the police because children will have broken the law of the land not of the school.
    6. HOLIDAY LESSONS AND PART TIME
    Payments for the above are monopolized by the heads in some schools .the supervisors even with very few  or no lessons at all take the biggest part of the money either allocated or paid by the learners .they say the money is for administration mystifying a simple mental activity to just swindle others.
     7. GENERAL
    The allocation of certificates by former students attracts what they call storage fees of five us dollars .I wonder how the ministry arrived at such a figure and also what it is for? Is really this money accounted for at the end? Is this not cupidity and wickedness?
    In some school in 2007 to 2008 the admin had started a money changing business, the Zim dollar to buy the SA rand to connections that would go to buy goods in SA. The time the Zim dollar will be returned it would have lost value if initially it could buy a textbook it would only be able to buy a pencil when it was finally returned .that is why some schools remain stunted.
    I was able to notice these great ills by weary of comparing Binga schools and Gutu schools, there is some vast difference  as there is between day and night .in Binga there was a lot of openness and teamwork and above all transparency.
    Some think everything as normal because in English they say "A frog in a pond cannot say anything about what is in the ocean and neither can it say anything about heaven."
    In some schools elementary equipment like thermometers for Geography and racks for agriculture are unknown by the pupils. ZJC and O'level set books are scarce that some classes may share three textbooks if not one.
    Prioritization is skewed and skewed indeed. I want to believe that all this is caused by lack of focus and this lack of focus is caused by heads that have some egotism of curios disproportions.
    Schools must have teachers who are able to stand up and protect6 the schools from corruption and that will obviously save this jewel of the region from demise.Education news
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