Corruption in Schools

IN AUGUST 2013, the country was disturbed by a news concerning the alleged corruption involving the hiring and treatment of teachers in Northern part of Luzon where a public school principal allegedly asked the three newly-hired teachers to pay P50,000 each in exchange for being granted teaching items or permanent position. The three teachers resigned from the private schools and applied to said public school for greener pasture. According to the Alliance of

Concerned Teachers (ACT) this practice of selling teaching items is rampant especially in the provinces where political patronage is prevalent. Some teachers were forced to give their pigs, cow and goats in exchange for teaching items. The worst reported cases are of sex in exchange for teaching items and in some cases, the first two-month salary of newly hired teachers.

Corruption in schools started in the 1950’s or more than half a century ago. In the book, I Dared to Dream, authored by Mr. Crispin L. Casiple, former General Education Supervisor II of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports in Region VI, graft and corruption starts in the classroom level, by public school teachers. This was through pupil’s contributions in the elementary level in the form of cash, or kind, as chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables, rice and the like. No gift meant no grades. Awards and ribbons were for sale or through donation in kind.

Some teachers utilized services of their pupils at home after classes or during Saturdays and Sundays. The teachers gave donations or gifts to the principal to make up for their tardiness or absences, or ineffectiveness in teaching. On the level of the principals, they understood the culture of Filipinos, especially “utang na loob” and hospitality. From time to time they received some things from their teachers, usually during birthdays, Christmas, New Year and other occasions. On the level of the district supervisors, the same things happened as in the case of principals with some additional opportunities of corruption in the hiring of new permanent teachers, transfer of teaching assignment, and promotion of teachers. Corruption in this instance was in the form of monetary consideration or in any form agreeable to the teacher candidate.

They also got commission, most often more than the amount allowed by law, in the purchase of books and materials, seats, blackboards, and other related items. The giving of performance rating was also a source of corruption by principals and district supervisors. Corruption in the level of the division superintendent was quite similar to that of the district supervisor. Only that the area covered was wider, as the whole city or province. It means more teachers, more transfers, more promotions, and more purchases. Corruption in the level of the regional director were fewer but larger in value. It mostly happened in the purchases of school materials, infrastructures, promotion, and very expensive gifts. No protest or complaint was made since people in the area were already used to hearing and seeing these happenings in the educational system and thought these to be allowable and approved by the general public. These corrupt practices in schools happened in 1950’s to early part of 1990’s.

It is about time for us to look at the kind of corruption or evil, no matter how small that stunts the development of quality education in the country. Corruption nowadays in education are in a form of illegal charges charged on children’s school admission forms which are supposed to be free, schools monopolizing school uniforms resulting in low quality and high prices. Ghost teachers, inflated student numbers quoted to obtain better funding, bribes to auditors for not disclosing the misuse of funds, politicians allocating resources to particular schools to gain support, especially during election times, among others. One of the marching programs of the present administration is to stop corruption in the country and to bring accountability and end corruption in the government as an institution for the people. This is by empowering every citizen of the country to build Integrity through education.

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