School audit directive praised

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday 02nd April, 2013

A SCHOOL principal in Morobe has welcomed education secretary Luke Taita’s directive to have financial records of public schools audited. 
“The secretary has directed audit teams to audit school books and any mismanagement will result in prosecution of school principals or governing council members.
“I welcome this as a step in the right direction,” Markham Valley High School principal Ebae Oreng said, when opening a new classroom, a library and a dormitory.
He said too often the community and the government doubted the ability and credibility of school principals  and governing councils to use money prudently and honestly on its intended purpose.
Oreng said a full audit was the only way to instil credibility in the management of a school and keep it on track.
“We, in this school, have approached the auditor’s office in Lae several times to come and audit our books but we were told that due to manpower shortage, they could not assist us,” he said.
Oreng said he was concerned with the national government rolled-out tui­tion free education which paid 100% of school budgets.
“With parents paying school fees previously, we never collected anything beyond 85% of our budgets,” he said.
Meantime, school governing council chairman Waka Waieng said the new batch of school infrastructure were built from last year’s tuition free education money of about K600,000.
“These new buildings are the pro­ducts of prudent financial management of last year’s funds,” he said.
Waieng added that Markham MP and National Housing and Urbanisation Minister Paul Isikiel had paid K3 million for a new double classroom, two new double dormitories, a new ablution block and a new staff house.
“Kwik Built is presently assembling the structures in Lae,” he said.