Clearing out corruptionThe extent and scale of corruption among educators is appalling beyond words.
Adding to the stream of corruption scandals in the education field, 157 former and incumbent principals at schools in and around the capital are being investigated on suspicion of pocketing kickbacks regularly from tourist and lodging-service companies in return for choosing locations for field trips and other group trips.
School heads had recently been prosecuted for receiving payoffs from school meal caterers and after-school program organizers.
But it is unprecedented to witness more than 100 principals being summoned by the police on bribery charges.
The corrupt principals extorted money before or after using the services while making quarterly payments. The graft had been committed habitually and customarily with a clear conscience.
It is disheartening to learn the education field has rooted itself so deep in the mud.
Principals are in charge of school management and learning. They can change and shape a school and its pupils depending on their passion and vision on education.
But if they have their mind set on easy money and monkey business, it appears they have hardly any concern for education.
Under such corrupt principals, teachers can hardly be motivated to pour out their hearts and sweat in the classroom.
Displays of self-indulgence and profligacy by principals can undermine the drive for education and demoralize educators. In the end, it is the pupils who are victimized.
It is unlikely that the corrupt practices are just limited to schools in and around the capital. Therefore, the police should extend their investigation nationwide to root out such customary corruption.
Parents’ groups should also strengthen their surveillance of principals and school management and help enhance transparency in business contracts.
More fundamentally, educators should show penitence and reinvent themselves. To do that, principals should turn over a new leaf to regain the faith and confidence of students, parents and teachers.
Otherwise, education authorities cannot entrust schools with greater sovereignty in operation and curriculum design.
Public schools cannot win sovereignty without first restoring trust. Educators should stop giving their peers a bad name and stop tainting the sacred mission of shaping young minds.
Everyone must join forces to put education back on the right track.
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