To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Mishaps in tertiary scholarship evident within the Minstry of education: Seth Gukuna.

A report now before Parliament underlines very serious mishaps in the allocation of scholarships. This was done to the extent of awarding students, previously terminated, scholarships.

The Chairman of Public Accounts Committee Seth Gukuna said he wanted to table the report in Parliament to bring to the attention of leaders the growing abuse of public funds.

He said often reports are produced then left to gather dust in the shelves. “I want MPs to look at the reports and debate them to avoid abuse in the future,” he said.

PAC’s report on the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development Tertiary Scholarship Programme now before Parliament is among four reports that will be tabled next week.

Like many other audits, the education report on tertiary scholarship contains serious breakdown in financial management and poor record keeping.

It found that poor monitoring of students’ activities resulted in the continuation of awards to those previously terminated from a prior award. It also found that students are overstaying, swapping programmes without prior approval and ineffective prioritisation of scholarships.

Other areas the report exposed are: ineffective scholarship selection, approval and monitoring owing to the lack of written guidelines, poor record keeping practices and lack of documentation to support decisions made, poor financial management resulting in overpayments to students and tertiary institutions, inconsistent awards of allowance paid, payments for inappropriate expenditure and inadequate documentation to support.

It also found preferential treatment and subjectivity in awarding some scholarships limited monitoring of poor performance students.

PAC demands that the ministry provides them with a copy of the National Skills Training Plan as soon as it is received.

It also wants the ministry to work on a National Education Plan that equitably benefits provincial or technical needs of the country.
PAC also wants a bond system for students who have completed their training introduced.

Source: Solomon star.

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