Corruption and irregularities in South African schools continues to grow with Corruption Watch receiving more than 300 reports of corruption in Schools. New information and research undertaken by Mxit has confirmed that corruption is on the rise and urgent attention is required.
The survey into corruption in South Africa school was done by market research company Pondering Panda in order to get a deeper understanding of corruption in schools. Over 3200 individuals aged between 13 and 34 were interviewed. This sample set is far more comprehensive than sample set used by global watchdog Transparency International.
Approximately 50% of those individuals interviewed were learners at schools and FET colleges and 31% were family members of learners. Most of the learners were from public schools with an equal balance of male and female respondents.
The main objective of the questions asked were to ascertain the perceptions of the level and types of corruption in schools, who were the perpetrators of school corruption, as well how they reported school corruption via existing channels.
Corruption at school is here to stay
The survey revealed that 53% of those interviewed believe that corruption in schools is getting worse and less that half of the respondents who are aware of corruption will report it. Only 42% reported incidents of corruption. Free State has the most non-reporters with 70%, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (67%) and the Western Cape (64%).
The survey also revealed that there is an equal amount of corruption in both private and public school in South Africa. The vast majority of respondents are extremely concerned about corruption and view it as a major problem.
Apart from the 53% who viewed corruption as a growing problem, only 17% felt that was getting better, 13% believe that it was the same, and 18% did not know. The vast majority of respondents believe that Mpumalanga has the highest levels of corruption followed by Eastern Cape and North West.
Individuals who reported incidents of corruption did so to school principals or parents, or to a member of a school governing board (SGB), to an official anti-corruption institution such as the presidential hotline or the Education Department.
More people reported corruption to Corruption Watch rather than the presidential hotline. Those aged between 15-17 were more likely to report to Corruption Watch while 13-14 year olds were more likely to report incidents to their parents or teachers.
True victims of corruptions are learners
The most common form corruption was the misuse and misappropriation of school funds or school property followed by learners being ordered to do favors for improved grades. Nepotism in the appointments of staff and procurements practices is also a problem as well as the sale of exam papers. The most common form of around exam times were favors for better grades and the selling of exam papers.
Mpumalanga had the biggest problem when it came selling of exam papers, while misappropriation of school funds was more prevalent in Free State and North West provinces.
The vast majority of respondents believe that the mail culprits of corruption are school principals followed by teachers and then members of school governing boards. The Eastern Cape had the highest number of corrupt principals (61%). The Free State had the most corrupt teachers (41%). And Northern Cape had the most corrupt school governing bodies (33%).
Female learners claim that teachers are more responsible for corruption, while mailed believe that principals are more corrupt. Overall, the vast majority of respondents believe that principals are to blame for the misuse of school funds and property. Almost half believe that principals are responsible for nepotism in schools.
When it came to doing favors for better grades, the majority of respondents believe that teachers are to blame and almost half believe that teachers sells exam papers to learners.
How to combat corruption in our schools
Even though the vast majority of learners do not report incidents of corruption, they did however identify ways in which corruption may be combatted. The best way to combat corruption in schools was with regular anti-corruption meetings and anti-corruption groups. Social media was the second best suggestion to fight corruption via Mxit, Facebook and Twitter
How to report corruption
To allow for easy reporting of corruption in schools, Corruption Watch is piloting a 24-hour toll-free line. Members of the public who wish to report corruption in schools can call 0800 023 456.
Source: Corruption Watch