Corruption is one of the most difficult challenges facing the education system today, reports an article in today’s Daily Sun.

The article is based on data gathered by Corruption Watch since it started its schools campaign in January 2013. The purpose of the campaign was to expose the types of underhanded dealings that are crippling the education system, and use the information to educate other stakeholders such as parents and pupils, thereby helping them to hold school management to account.

Over the past year the organisation has focused strongly on corruption in schools.

Since January 2012 Corruption Watch has received just over 600 reports that allege corruption in the school system. The types of corruption described include abuse of public funds received for infrastructure maintenance and upgrading, plundering of the national feeding scheme, nepotism, procurement-related corruption, and more.

Most of the reports implicated principals and school governing bodies (SGBs) and to an extent, teachers. It’s the latter group, however, who are the most vigilant in reporting corruption – out of all the Corruption Watch reporters who did indicate their relationship to their school, 36% were teachers, 26% were SGB members and 24% were parents.

The results of a survey we conducted on Mxit towards the end of 2013 indicated that corruption in schools is on the rise. The survey sampled 3 284 respondents between the ages of 13 and 34, half of whom believed that the situation is getting worse.

The prevalent types of corruption reported in the survey were the misuse of school finances and property, learners having to do favours in exchange for marks and nepotism in the appointment of staff.

Sick and tired of corruption

This situation not only has parents and pupils up in arms, but honest teachers are getting tired of it too, says the Daily Sun. Teachers from a KwaZulu-Natal school, who were interviewed by the newspaper, say they are ready to down textbooks because the principal is corrupt.

“Parents have stopped attending meetings because they don’t trust us, but we are being failed by our leadership,” the teachers told the paper. The article also features a handy infographic breaking down schools corruption according to type and province.

Corruption Watch has just published an e-book, in PDF format, which is aimed at equipping parents with the knowledge they need to ask the right questions at their child’s school and hold the right people accountable.

The organisation will sum up the data it has received on schools corruption in its annual report, due out on Thursday 6 February.

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Teachers, members of governing bodies, pupils and parents are tired of having to deal with corruption at their schools. Some teachers are ready to boycott classes because of it, reports the Daily Sun.