School children express worry over corruption and poor sanitation

Corruption Demonstration

A cross-section of school children across the country have expressed worry about the spate of corruption, saying it was preventing them from accessing their basic needs.

They were unhappy about the poor waste management system, which had resulted in poor sanitation because of corruption.

These views were part of a quarterly assessment disclosed at a press conference by the Forum for Actions on Inclusion, Transparency and Harmony (FAITH), an inter-faith alliance against corruption on Wednesday in Accra.

The pupils are part of the NGO’s anti-corruption clubs dubbed ‘I-Shame Corruption Project’ in ten participatory schools throughout Ghana to end corruption.

The Project is being done in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE).

Mr Samuel Zan Akologo, the Project Manager, said it was being sponsored by STAR-Ghana, DANIDA and European Union with a target to inculcate integrity, honesty and good morals in more than 3,000 pupils to be in the position to help fight corruption in their communities.

He said the pupils, mainly from the Primary and Junior High Schools, during a quarterly assessment explained that they had been denied of their basic entitlement for learning, including decent classrooms, adequate furniture, textbooks, and required contact hours for teaching and learning.

“As faith-based organisation, we are gravely concerned about the disproportionate impact on children, the poor and the vulnerable; but our conviction to tackle this canker with the involvement of children has been vindicated,” Mr Akologo stated.

He said, “I was stunned at how school children pointed to acts of negligence of local government authorities in waste management, including waste bins left to the mercy of the weather in district assembly premises instead of putting them into good use”.

The children, he said, also spoke about the wanton logging of rare tree species such as Rose Wood in the Northern Region, adding that for children to draw the link between corruption and environmental degradation in Ghana today was a moral call to action.

Mr Akologo said there was the need to make a conscious effort to hear them without finding excuses as their voices and perspectives matter in national development.

He commended government for passing the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law, adding that it would help in the fight against corruption.

Hajia Ayishetu Abdul-kadiri, the Chairperson of FAITH Platform, said the I-SHAME Corruption Project was aimed at creating a new Ghanaian in today’s children with character formation that develops values for good citizenship.

Hajia Ayishetu, who is also the Secretary of Federation of Muslim Women’s Association in Ghana (FOMWAG), said the main objective of the programme was to give exposure to school children at the basic schools to enable them understand issues such as the causes and effects of corruption.

It is also to afford them the opportunity to appreciate the many advantages in fighting against corruption and the need to uphold integrity as priceless values to cherish.

She said the fight against corruption was been done from all angles of society because it was widely and literally attributed to abuse of authority, power or wrong use of personal interest in place of laid down processes or norms.

She said it was important, therefore, to focus on changing the mind sets and attitudes of children at a tender age by educating them on the various acts of corruption so that they desist from such practices when they grow up.

Madam Cynthia Tagoe, the Head of Legal Unit of the GES, said the Service would include corruption into school curriculum.

Mr Johnson Opoku, the Director of Programmes for NCCE, said the media had a role to play by disseminating and educating the public on anti-corruption actions.

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