By Alfred Mthandizi
Civil Society Education Coalition has demanded transparency and accountability over the way the Schools Improvement Grants (SIG) are handled.
Survey which CSEC conducted revealed rampant abuse of Schools Improvement Grants. The Survey was funded by Swedish Development Partners and was presented to the media, members of parliament donors and other stakeholders in Lilongwe. The survey used a multi-stage sampling approach to identify key respondents targeted central, Districts, zonal and school level functions and 126 people were interviewed.
In terms of allocation, the base rate per school is K600, 000 for an enrollment threshold of 1,000 pupils and for any additional pupil, receives K300. In the 2016/17 national budget Ministry of education Science and Technology was allocated K146.2Billion which included both development and recurrent expenditure. The amount was shared amongst the four programs within the vote and out of the basic education share, K90.3Billion went to Primary Education.
According to the findings most schools have no expenditure reports as evidence for their expenditure which raises concerns as regards the level of accountability and transparency. The survey also found high consumption and utilization. The survey has since given Ministry of Education various recommendations for it to implement. Some of the recommendations include training of staff managing the SIG.
Giving their comments during the plenary session, Members of Parliament called for transparency on the management of these funds.