Chief auditor to track schools expenditure
The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) will from next week start auditing public secondary schools, an exercise which seeks to analyse how resources are expended.
Basic Education Principal Secretary Dr Julius Jwan yesterday said the audit would for the first time be conducted directly from schools.
Jwan said the audit will be conducted on 10 per cent of schools in every county, that will run through all categories namely National, Extracounty, County and Sub-county schools.
“You are aware that before our schools were not being audited by the OAG. We pushed for this because a few times I’m called by Parliament to go and explain how principals use money, I carry the Bible and swear that I will say the truth while in the real sense I do not exactly know how you use resources you have,” said the PS, during the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) school principals’ symposium held in Nairobi.
He told the principals that the OAG is constitutionally mandated to access institutions and get any material they need for their work so they should be allowed in as long as they have identified themselves appropriately.
“The OAG do not require any authority from the Ministry, as long as they have identified themselves that they are from that office. It is not something you are used to but be aware that they may not be like our colleagues we call the school audit but they are also not from the moon. They are coming to engage you to see how you use the resources that you have,” the PS explained.
He told the principals to desist the practice of class teachers being given the mandate to collect money from parents for particular purposes.
“In some of the schools, we know it happens that there are times when class teachers are allowed to collect money from parents, which is an illegality. Class teachers do not have any powers to collect any money… I am just giving you a leakage,” he said. Even if schools decide to collect motivation fees, which is illegal, the PS said that the school must record it all or any other resource that comes to the school because it is still public resources.
He also urged the principal to give factual information for all the money that comes to school saying that the OAG will still establish anything false said during the audit process. The auditors are expected to talk to parents, teachers and principals.
“We focus on public schools. The Government normally audits public institutions. They will do an audit in secondary schools and others will follow later. This is the first time it is being done… this is money we disburse without necessarily using and principals are also CEOs in their own right so it is important they be held accountable,” explained the PS.
The PS, however, assured that an audit is not done because there are irregularities but for purposes of ensuring systems are functioning well.
“We know that schools manage quite some good resources, in fact some of our big schools manage huge resources than some of the Semi-Autonomous Government Agencies (SAGAs) so it is important that those resources be used prudently and effectively,” Jwan explained.
“That is why we requested to have the Auditor General audit some of the schools directly so that we can have a feel of how we are using the money in these schools,” he added.
The Chairperson of ACK schools, Edith Koech also the Principal of Ossen Secondary School said that they had been advised to prepare for such an exercise and are prepared.
“This is a normal school routine, we audit our books yearly. We are prepared for it and whatever they need, we will provide the necessary information. It may come as a shock to most of us but we understand what auditing is and we will welcome them,” she said.