Corruption in schools

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Welcome to our schools campaign page! Here you will find regularly updated material that analyses the nature of corruption in schools, gives insights into why it’s taking place, tells you where the hotspots are and offers practical tips on how it can be beaten.

Department learns corruption lessons

In April Corruption Watch met representatives of the Free State department of basic education in Bloemfontein to discuss the organisation's work to stop corruption in schools in the province.

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Download our new schools e-book

We've just published a new e-book, based largely on our schools campaign, which started at the beginning of the 2013 academic year. It contains our most useful schools articles and other information to help you fight corruption in the classroom – download the pdf and distribute it throughout your community!

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National school feeding scheme - part three

In the final part of our series on the school feeding scheme, we highlight the channels that are in place to report corruption observed at various levels, and suggest pertinent questions for parents to ask, so that they may be assured that all is above board.

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National school feeding scheme - part two

In part one of our series we shed some light, based on tip-offs submitted to us, on the ways in which the national school nutrition programme can be manipulated for personal gain. We turn now to explaining the rules and regulations behind the NSNP, and how it should be run.

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National school feeding scheme - part one

The national school nutrition programme is a fine initiative which, unfortunately, seems to be prone to corruption and manipulation. In our new three-part series we point out some of the ways in which unscrupulous people take advantage of the NSNP, explain how the system should work, and advise on the right way in which you, the parents and public, can bring your concerns forward.

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How does schools procurement work?

With much corruption at schools related to the buying of goods and services – commonly known as procurement – the government expends a lot of effort trying to manage the process. This has resulted in provincial education departments regularly issuing regulations to manage procurement by schools.

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Schools quintile system to change?

So far we have examined the roles of school principals and governing bodies, and explained how no-fees schools work. In the third of our schools articles we discuss the categorisation of schools for the purpose of government funding.

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How do no-fees schools work?

In our previous school article we detailed the roles of principals and school governing bodies in managing a school - we now move on to explaining the rules pertaining to the management of funds at no-fee schools.

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Survey: Corruption in schools on the rise

New data obtained from a survey held on popular communications platform Mxit in late August, has confirmed that the situation in schools needs urgent attention. The survey, conducted on behalf of Corruption Watch, polled 3 284 respondents, 53% of whom believe that corruption is a big problem and getting worse.

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Understanding roles of principals and governing bodies

The roles of principals and school governing bodies in managing a school are complex and appear to overlap, which can cause conflict. In this article we unpack what these two jobs actually entail and look at the different laws that apply to schools.

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Schools rot rife in E Cape, August tip-offs show

August saw a record number of schools tip-offs sent in to Corruption Watch, with the majority of complaints coming from small towns in the Eastern Cape, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The overall tally of schools reports sent in by the public since our launch in January 2012 now stands at 270.

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Schools corruption: what it looks like

Since launching our schools campaign in January 2013, we have received over 200 schools corruption tip-offs. Our data indicates that principals and members of school governing bodies are the biggest culprits in the misconduct reported. Check out our infographic showing the latest reporting trends.

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Principals treating schools as cash cows

Here’s a snapshot of some of the schools incidents* we’ve received from the public recently, so you can get a feel for the kind of trends we're picking up: principals are at it again – this time individuals are reported to have stolen money meant for school renovations, been an accessory to a crime and taken a job without following proper procedure.

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Tools to fight corruption at your school

Need to know how to fight the abuse of power and resources in your child’s school? Check out our easy-to-use toolkit that will guide you on the right questions to ask, so you can address the right issues and hold the right people accountable.

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Procurement corruption rampant in schools

Here’s a snapshot of some of the schools incidents* we’ve received from the public recently: a power struggle that resulted in a corrupt principal being appointed; a deputy principal at a college buying expensive software that never materialised; and a treasurer, principal and finance officer colluding in a dodgy procurement deal.

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More of your stories: School heads in firing line again!

Here’s a snapshot of some of the schools incidents* we’ve received from the public recently, so you can get a feel for the kind of trends we're picking up: principals exposed again, this time for nepotism, keeping teachers in the dark about school finances, and taking money meant for paying a school’s utility bill.

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Your schools stories: principals behaving badly

Here’s a snapshot of some of the schools incidents we’ve received from the public recently, so you can get a feel for the kind of trends we're picking up: a service provider bribing principals to secure their business, a governing body flouting the law and booting cleaning staff off school property to house teachers.

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We expose fraud at Soweto school after tip-off

Teachers at Thubelihle school in Soweto contacted Corruption Watch at the beginning of 2013 to report appalling financial governance at their school, resulting in crumbling infrastructure and dwindling supplies of learning material. What followed was a three-month probe into the allegations and some pretty damning findings against the principal and former governing body chair.

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More of your schools stories: fees stolen for Thai trip

Here’s a snapshot of some of the reports* on schools we’ve received from the public recently so you can get a feel for the kind of trends we're picking up: a principal in Mpumalanga using school fees to fund his romantic getaway to Thailand and an outraged school treasurer who speaks out about the thieving ways of her boss in Eldorado Park, Gauteng.

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How school governing bodies should be run

Governing bodies oversee schools that manage their own finances, making them vulnerable to fraud and abuse. The Western Cape Education Department has released a policy document setting out tips and tools for how good governing bodies should be run.

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Corruption Watch sees spike in schools reports

Nepotism, stealing public money and extortion: not really the crimes you’d associate with institutions of learning, but they’re crippling many of our country’s public schools – as the recent spike in reports from concerned teachers, parents and community members shows.

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More of your stories: drunk principal with sticky fingers

From an education department clerk offering jobs to friends and family, learners at a no-fees school being forced to give teachers money, and a drunken principal embezzling funds, Corruption Watch’s lines are buzzing with incidents of schools corruption.

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Here are your stories: schools in trouble!

From the reports we've received about corruption in schools around the country, it is clear that many of our public schools are in trouble. From principals who abuse their power, to disappearing funds and equipment, these are your stories.

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Youngsters face grim fate over abusive principal

Two youngsters from neighbouring schools in Seabe village near Hamaanskraal are facing criminal charges for theft following a burglary, reportedly masterminded by the school principal.

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Stealing hope from the next generation

Corruption in schools not only robs pupils of the benefits of feeding schemes, transport and textbooks, it also robs taxpayers of the ability to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children who only have education as a way out of poverty.

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Corruption-watching starts as schools go back

As bells ring and classes kick off for the 2013 academic year, Corruption Watch begins its monitoring of schools – a big focus for the organisation this year.

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