Mismanagement and corruption continue to hinder the progress of education in Africa, suggests a recent Transparency International report on primary education in several African countries. The report cites several examples where local officials wasted the funds of school systems, which raised the costs that parents were forced to pay.
One of more outrageous examples of such corruption came from Madagascar, where school officials use the annual cyclone season as an opportunity to embezzle funds. A Space for Transparency blog explained how they do it:
Every year the coastal areas, mainly in the north eastern part of the island, face an onslaught from seasonal cyclones. First warnings usually start airing on TV and radio a few days before the cyclone hits, which gives people time to put their corruption scams into action. It works like this: when the cyclone is confirmed, the person in charge of school procurements pays a local merchant to fabricate an invoice for school supplies. The wind and rains come and lo and behold the school storage room is inundated with water and all the supplies are damaged. The school then submits a reimbursement claim to the central emergency fund for school materials. It explains how the storage room roof leaked and the supplies were ruined. The fake invoice is included in the claim.
As the World Bank points out, It is particularly important to address such practices in primary schools because education is the key to achieving other development goals. If poor kids are to have a chance at getting the education that could help them lift themselves out of poverty, a strong start in primary school is imperative.