Schools and Corruption in Africa
We may be concerned about the standard of schools in England, but journalist Sorious Samura showed a much more alarming side to schooling in his extraordinary report on Africa for Channel 4's 'Dispatches'. His report focused on what he believes to be the root cause of Africa's headlong rush to oblivion - not its poverty, its persistent wars or its virulent diseases, but corruption. Corruption strangles any attempt to change and reform Africa; it is persistent and endemic; and it begins with power structures among pupils in schools. The revelation of a pupil who needed to bribe his teachers to be taught, and of bribery and the misuse of power structures as innocent seeming as prefect positions amongst pupils were the start of a downward spiral which leaves millions of Africans in their current dire state.
Samura's report was honest, eye-opening and straightforward, eschewing easy emotionalism or crass finger pointing. There was little comfort for the West either, whose aid programmes do so much to entrench corruption and line the pockets of gangster leaders rather than head to where it should be. It does, of course, also encourage a dependency on aid, rather than being directed towards the development of domestic agriculture, industry and commerce. But then, Africa is a classic case of where western interventionism has aided and abetted the shallow, selfish, fatally corrupt ruling elites, because in the last resort politicians feel happiest and safest dealing with fellow politicians.