Ethics minister vows to wipe out corruption in education sector

The directorate of Ethics and Integrity is casting its net wider in the fight against graft in the education sector, after education experts warned that if unchecked, the vice would cause adverse effects on the quality of education in Uganda.

In October, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Justice Irene Mulyagonja revealed that 20% of all cases referred to her office were related to the education sector.

Speaking to KFM, the state minister for ethics and Integrity Hon. Rev Father Simon Lokodo has urged the different anti-corruption agencies and education sector stakeholders to work together to incorporate anti-corruption and ethical studies in the primary and secondary syllabi.

Fr. Lokodo says that since the IGG’s report indicated that the vice had spread down to the lowest level, targeting young learners will help create a generation that will be less likely to embrace corruption.

The says a number of head teachers have been arrested with efforts to further be strengthened

“We have arrested some head teachers. We’ve put them before courts of law, others are already serving sentences and there are those who preferred arbitration and are already refunding the money. So it’s true the net is widening and we are not going to leave any stone unturned until we get hold of everybody found behaving in this manner”, says Hon Lokodo.

However, civil society organizations engaged in the fight against corruption have poked holes in the minister promise based on the citizens’ perspective from Sauti Za Wanainchi brief on Uganda’s views on governance and citizen’s engagement conducted between August-September 2017. It showed that one in three Ugandans feel that bribing public officials can be acceptable in some cases in order to get assistance or speed up services.

Ms Cissy Kagaba, the Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda says corruption unless government raises pay for all public servants, corruption in all public offices including the education sector will continue to flourish.

Meanwhile, the National Secretary Federation of Non-State Education Institutions Mr. Patrick Kaboyo says one of the ways to address corruption in the education sector is through active involvement of parents in school management affairs.

According to a November 2018 Sauti Za Wanainchi report, about 46% of Ugandan parents do not speak to anyone about problems they identify at their children’s schools. The report titled Preparing  the Next Generation: Ugandans’ opinions and experiences on education, further states that upto 8 out of 10 parents do not know anything about the problems at school.