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State schools slacken on audits

Mon, 29 June 2015 01:16
by Jona Musheko
Education

The lack of enough auditors in the government system has resulted in government schools being audited by independent auditors, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education Alfred Ilukena said.
“If the government auditors we currently have cannot even cover to audit all government institutions, how will they manage to include our schools?”, he questioned.
 Ilukena said regional education directors are supposed to make sure that schools in their regions are audited, as they are required to provide a report on the financial status of such schools.
“The problem is that most teachers at schools want to see auditors on their school premises, or in fact seeing them working for them to believe that their schools are being audited, but it was not supposed to be like that,” he explained.
Ilukena added that he is not sure whether government schools are auditing money collected as School Development Funds (SDFs) from parents.
“We do not control them at all. Each school is supposed to audit what they get from their SDFs. This process is normally monitored by the chairperson of the school board,” he stated.
The permanent secretary added that it is hard for them to have control over the SDFs as they do not have any idea how many learners are at each school.
“They control that money, and decide what they want to use it for, depending on their needs,” he said.
However, auditing at school level does not in any manner affect the supply of books and other resources from the Ministry.
He said schools are not expected to buy books with money collected as SDFs as books are included in the Ministry’s budget.
Meanwhile, Kunene regional education director Simon Tsuseb said all government schools in his region are audited by government auditors. “Schools have the right to get their independent auditors, as long as we get the financial report which is submitted to my office every year by each school.
Even right now, I am busy looking at some of the financial reports which I have received from various schools,” he said.
Tsuseb said government schools have no right to refuse to be audited as they are using public funds.
If there are indeed any government schools which are refusing to be audited, they should be reported to his office as he is currently not aware of such schools in the Kunene region, he added.
A school principal in the Omusati region, Theophelus Nuujoma, said his school is being audited every year before the end of the yearly school calendar.
“Schools are supposed to be audited, and my school is audited too. But some school principals do not really take it seriously,” Nuujoma said.
“We also have independent auditors who normally come every year to audit our school’s financial books.
I don’t think there are schools which are not audited,” said Tuhafeni Jafet, a school principal in the Ohangwena region.
The Minister of Basic Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa has been reported as fighting for the decentralisation of capital projects to regions as a way to fast-track service delivery at regional and school level.