Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
SCHOOLS must brace for more government audits as the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education strives to curb abuse of funds in schools.
The government last year deployed auditors to schools countrywide amid reports that headmasters and School Development Committees embezzled millions of dollars paid in fees and levies.
Education Minister, Lazarus Dokora, said a common trend unearthed by the audits was that schools were operating without annual budgets and some School Development Committees were milking schools through hefty sitting allowances. “Audits are going to continue, we have no business protecting abuse of public funds. But we read audits as a development tool. Audits will assist us take control of what bursars do in the schools. In the not so distant future, we are expecting that we are going to get consensus. Once we’ve streamlined our Education Act with the constitution and regulations, we should be able to get school accountants for each school,” said Minister Dokora.
“The majority of schools have been operating without an annual budget. This is an obvious offence but apparently schools were doing that and operating with a school development plan. So the money you are collecting how are you expending it? We’re not fault-finding but we’re pointing in the right direction for everyone to see.”
The minister said most headmasters were failing to detect the fraudulent actions of bursars.
He said as a result, school heads would be trained on financial matters.
Minister Dokora said some schools were spending a lot of money on ancillary staff salaries.
“A school we visited in Matabeleland South has 46 ancillary workers and a teaching staff of 32. So how can support staff be so numerous in comparison to the key professional personnel and we think that when audits go into these institutions these glaring inequities will become obvious,” he said.