How our education system encourages corruption

A visitor to Kenya could easily leave with the impression we are incorrigibly corrupt. Daily news on corruption range from petty acts of traffic police officers taking Sh50 from public vehicles without blinking, to the grand corruption that is the modus operandi of tenderprenuers. Corruption permeates our life.

We only frown about it when we are not the ones who have been caught. When it involves politicians or their cronies, the former are fast to claim ‘our community’ is targeted and urge tribesmen and women to unleash their weapons to defend their sons and daughters. However, jettisoning the canker of corruption can only be done after assessing the factors at play, and which have made this problem a regular visitor in our socio-political and economic fabrics for ages.

The question arises, what is the role being played by our education system whose products are the paladin of today’s corruption? If the system could inculcate desirable values and attitudes, wouldn’t we have people of high integrity who could treat the vice with utter contempt?

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The truth is, our education system partly contributes to the vice. From curriculum  developers to those charged with its implementation, both are guilty of the corruption wreaking havoc in the country. The curriculum pays little regard to corruption.

No content has explicitly dealt with the issue. In the 8-4-4 system it was taught through infusion as an emerging issue while in our nascent competency based curriculum, it is covered under the pertinent and contemporary issues.Unfortunately, the teachers are ill equipped to bring out the issue for the learner effectively. You only need to observe a teacher in class to realise how the be-all and end-all is the rush to complete the syllabus by using one textbook  as the holiest of content.

 Encouraging users

With such an approach, it is near impossible to inculcate high integrity in the schools’ products.In both schools and tertiary institutions, there is lip service to issues that are not directly covered in the content of interest.If we are to succeed ,then we need a total paradigm change in our teacher education programmes.

Textbooks are supposed to help users find the interpretation of the content easy. A  look at the books reveals a total lack of the cross-cutting issues where corruption  is domiciled.Rarely do you come across content or illustrations in most books  encouraging users to lead a corruption free life.

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Wealth is depicted as good and worth being sought at whichever expense.Poverty on the other hand is seen as stemming from laziness and should thus be given a wide berth.Learners in such a scenario pray to finish school early to go and hustle to become millionaires.

What is our philosophical underpinning  on corruption in our education system? If there is, is it anchored in our national goals of education? Our education system is silent on the philosophical link to issues corruption.

A good system of education should help the society address the challenges facing it. Moreover, a curriculum is both a political and an educational process. This forces the school to work closely with the political class to chip in anti-graft efforts.

Learners are known to ape their teachers. Unfortunately, today’s teacher is not who they should be. Like the rest of society, avarice guides them in all they do.Their behaviour is to counter what the teaching profession demands of them. Learners have borrowed heavily from their teachers who as members of the wider society find themselves in the mad rush to make money.

Quite lackluster

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Morality can’t be taught. Nonetheless a good curriculum with moral education can go down well with producing individuals who value integrity. We need to spare part of our curriculum to tackle issues of graft. This can only be possible where value education is given prominence.

As the curriculum stand today, the place of value education is quite lackluster. Teachers only think of completing the syllabus. This makes them to mainly concentrate in the cognitive and psychomotor domains at the expense of the affective domain, which deals with values.

As a society, we should use education as a potent tool in the fight against graft. The young minds should be taught that the canker of corruption is our nation’s worse enemy. We can also use co-curriculum and extra curriculum activities to fight corruption.

Let the way we plan,teach and assess give premium to the war against graft. The teaching and learning materials should also have anti corruption theme embedded on them.

Strategic places

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Corruption in Kenya towers at both macro, meso and micro levels. Its with this in mind that anti-corruption clubs should be formed. These clubs should have teachers of high integrity to augment the efforts made in the classroom.

Schools can also spearhead attempts at declaring anti-corruption days in the school, create and display anti corruption messages in strategic places within the school, reward learners who prevent corruption among their colleagues and organise competitions whose theme should be anti-corruption.

Ultimately the governments at both national and county levels should take the lion’s share in the war against graft. The truth is that even if teachers do their part, other sectors should equally put in place mischief-free and airtight efforts at eradication of graft.

Let the society fear engaging in graft  due to the high costs involved if one is caught with his or her fingers in the cookie jar. I trust that the education system can play its role in nurturing  the  young minds into being, like Ceasar’s wife people whose integrity should be beyond reproach.

Dr. Ndaloh is a curriculum and instruction expert at Moi university. [email protected] 

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