The Sierra Leone Teachers Union’s (SLTU) acting President, Mohamed Sallieu Bangura has condemned the act of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for publicly shaming the arrested teachers on allegations of examination malpractice.
Last September 7, 2019, Saturday, a raid was conducted on Fatibu Technical Secondary School where the school Principal including three teachers were arrested by the commission (ACC) for a case of examination malpractice. However, on Monday, all four arrested teachers were paraded at the Cotton Tree in the center of the Freetown. The arrested teachers were handcuffed and with posters admitting their guilt over the said alleged examination malpractices.
The parading of arrested teachers act by ACC has ignited a massive debate on how far the commission can go and do in confronting corruption cases.
In a telephone interview, Bangura expressed his disappointments on the move of the ACC in “parading” the arrested teachers caught on alleged examination malpractice. He, and on behalf of the SLTU, condemns the move totally since those who were caught stealing the state money were not paraded like that. According to Bangura, the act of parading was beyond the law.
Morris Kanteh, the Assistant Public Relations Officer, told the press that arrest of the teachers was a tipoff. The police were told that several students were camped in a so-called “special room” by the arrested teachers to help them cheat the current West Africa Private Senior Secondary Certificate Examination. Each camped student were collected Le1million by the teachers.
Early on Monday, Kanteh had hinted the press that the arrested teachers are to be paraded as a new approach of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to end examination malpractices. According to him, an ongoing operation is in effect in which those who were caught of examination malpractice are to be publicly shamed at the Cotton Tree. He added that this incident is the first time they implemented the said new approach.
Despite his condemnation of the ACC’s new approach to examination malpractices, Bangura said that the SLTU would never tolerate examination malpractice, mentioning that the teacher union has professional standards.
He noted that the SLTU is a respectable and professional organization and will never put up with malpractices. However, Bangura said that they could not deny the fact that the arrested teachers on allegations of examination malpractice are indeed their members.
He added that, if proven that they have, without a doubt, committed the examination malpractice, and the court has declared them guilty, the SLTU will never condone this issue.
Nevertheless, this is not the first-time teachers were caught on allegedly examinations malpractice. Bangura reminded the teachers to understand their duties. He warned the teachers to stay away from the crime of examination malpractices as it will not bring any help to the country’s education system.
Bangura said the SLTU would evaluate its members. The organization also raised concerns to the government to consider increasing the salaries of the teachers to improve the conditions and the services of teachers.