By Edna Komora
The government through the Ministry of Education, State Department of Early Learning and Basic Education entered into an agreement with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) under the supervision of the World Bank.
The project was aimed to fund Kenyan Primary Education Development Project. The project has four components and sub-component including strengthening schools, management and accountability.
The financing agreement requires that the accounts of SIP schools be audited on an annual basis during the project’s lifetime. The auditing aims to enhance accountability, transparency and efficiency in the utilisation of resources.
Additionally, the terms and conditions of the initiative are to ascertain whether proper governance structures exist for effective management of financial resources, assess the adequacy of the internal controls in place to safeguard assets of the institution, confirm compliance with Government Laws and Regulations relating to utilization and accountability of financial resources, and identify any systematic issues including internal control weakness, accountability concerns and non-compliance with financial regulation and procedures.
The audit of the 2017 financial year was conducted in 3,832 schools out of 4,000 primary schools that had been earmarked. The remaining 168 SIP schools were not audited due to bad weather conditions and insecurity.
On the strategy planning and implementation, the audit revealed that 85.7% of schools audited had strategic plans, a marked improvement from 35% that it was at the baseline with their level of compliance to the plans in the budget execution standing at 88.7% still up from 24% at baseline.
However, for these categories of schools with strategic plans, the situation has been attributed to capacity training and the need to meet the SIP conditions and other stakeholder demands.
The audit revealed that the expenditure incurred in 90% of the schools was meeting the eligibility thresholds. This was a 30% improvement over the 60% noted in baseline in terms of clear narrations on the purpose of payment, adequately supported by relevant documentation e.g. delivery notes invoices, and receipts among others and authorized by the responsible officer.
The eligibility level achieved has been attributed to; most of the head teachers having undergone relevant training on financial management, effective oversight by some board of management, and effective oversight by some other oversight body for instance the County SIP committee and Bank Missions.
The SIP project is setting precedent calling for frequent audits in institutions to check how public funds are being utilised especially in public schools.
According to Tana-River County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP, 2018-2022), flagship projects under the education sector have been allocated a cumulative sum of Sh 901 million. Notably, a significant share of the budget has been channelled towards the establishment of boarding schools.
With the introduction of free secondary education and an increase in bursaries from various devolved funds, the existing schools’ auditing of public funds will also have to be reinforced to show accountability and transparency.
Overall, the effective audit has been a recognised component of organisations in both public and private sectors and most industries.
For years, auditing has been a tool for monitoring activity with the responsibility to management for assessing the effectiveness of control procedures of public funds in schools which are responsible for other functional managerial activities that work hand in hand in schools and deal with public funds that may at times be exploited or rather be used extravagantly.
Image: A class session at Tana River’s Buyani secondary school. Source: GlobalGiving
This story was produced by Edna Komora from Amani FM in partnership with Code for Africa, Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET) and the Catholic Media Council with support from the German Cooperation as a part of the Our County Our Responsibility project.