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Teachers, parents undergo training on managing school funds

EDUCATION
By Augustine Oduor | October 8th 2021

Elimu Yetu Coalition (EYC) National Chairman Joseph Kirui take Civil Society Organization  members through resolutions at the 11th Annual Education for All  Conference on Education organised. [Kelvin Karani,Standard]

Heads of public schools are undergoing training on how to manage resources in their control as part of wider plan to enhance accountability and reporting.

The Saturday Standard has established that head teachers of public schools, their deputies, chairpersons of the school boards of management and parents’ representatives are attending the training.

Initially, only 4,000 school managers are targeted in the the two-day training taking place across the country under the Global Partners in Education (GPE) supported Kenya Primary Education Development (PRIEDE) project. Later, similar sessions will be held for the rest of schools.

The PRIEDE programme, whose objectives were to enhance early grade Mathematics competencies, also had a component to strengthen management systems at school and national levels.

During the two-day meeting, school managers are being trained on governance and management of learner capitation grants and other school funds in public primary schools.

The training has been conducted after it emerged that some school managers have not mastered proper financial accountability and reporting for the resources under their control.

Schools also receive other funds from the Education ministry separate from capitation, such as health and nutrition, the national school-based deworming programme, infrastructure grants, low cost boarding and mobile schools and special needs and disabilities grants.

Other sources of funds are National Government Constituency Development Funds, non-governmental organisations, religious bodies, donors, local communities, well-wishers, school income generating projects, county government and contributions from households.

In 2017, the government released new, stricter accounting guidelines for head teachers, which required that every coin generated by public schools must be accounted for using official receipts.

Under the guidelines all donations, allocations and grants received by schools must be receipted.

“All National Constituency Development Funds (NCDF), donations or fundraising must be receipted officially and entered into the school cash books,” read the guidelines.

And now, the school managers are being taken through transparency and accountability in the utilisation of learner capitation grants and other school funds.

In line with this, they are being sensitised on laws governing transparency and accountability, accounting and reporting, safeguards and information disclosures and school facilities and equipment management.

Auditing of school books of accounts and handing over and taking over in public primary schools are also part of the areas the managers are being taken trough.

Schools receive government capitation per learner, per term. The funds are disbursed in three tranches in the percentage ratio of 50:30:20 for first, second and third terms respectively.

A brief by Ministry of Education says that the refresher training aims at ensuring that policy guidelines are well internalised by key stakeholders and implemented by all schools.

It also seeks to equip chair of BoMs, head teachers and deputy head teachers with skills to ensure full compliance to the Policy Guidelines.

It, however, emerged that separately, the training will be expanded to include all schools in compliance with the recently released financial reporting format for public institutions that also altered their reporting periods.

This is after the Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (PSASB) in collaboration with the National Treasury prescribed a financial reporting template for public schools.

According to the new plan, all public secondary schools financial reporting period shall now be from July 1 to June 30, in line with the Government Financial Year.

Previously, public secondary schools reported their finances over a calendar year that runs from January to December.

Following the release of the reporting format, the Ministry of Education, through a circular, directed all public secondary schools to comply with the new financial reporting format.

In the circular dated August 19, 2021, Basic Education PS Julius Jwan said the Ministry of Education will organise sensitisation programmes for heads of schools, bursars, boards of management, non-financial managers and other stakeholders.

The new directive now means that schools that had submitted their financial statements for the financial year ending December 31, 2020 shall prepare six months financial statements up from January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021.

And schools that had not submitted their financial statements for the year 2020 shall prepare the statements for a period of 18 months from January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

Overall, the reporting initiative is aimed at increasing efficiency, transparency and accountability in public secondary schools.

“Transparency and accountability in financial management is paramount to the continuity and sustainability of learning institutions as they seek to provide knowledge to the current generations and in posterity,” read the guidelines for implementation of IPSAS by public secondary schools.

The document is signed by PSASB Chief executive, Fredrick Riaga.

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