School man­age­ments de­serve no sym­pa­thy for late au­dited ac­counts be­cause they have been suf­fi­ciently warned

Serious ques­tions should be asked when au­dited ac­counts are not ready on time. Each school has 14 weeks of school term and a week or two of school hol­i­days to get their books in order.

Fiji Sun - - COMMENT -

The spot­light is back on some schools that are late in pro­vid­ing their au­dited ac­counts to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion. This is a shame. These on-go­ing shenani­gans in some schools clearly show a bla­tant dis­re­gard of pre­vi­ous warn­ings by the min­istry in its drive to clean up the way many schools have op­er­ated in the past.

The free ed­u­ca­tion scheme for which Gov­ern­ment pro­vides tu­ition fees for ev­ery stu­dent from kin­der­garten to se­condary school is a great and wor­thy ini­tia­tive. But it has been com­pro­mised by abuse and ne­glect. And no doubt the Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion, Her­itage and Arts Ma­hen­dra Reddy is not happy with it.

Other re­lated ini­tia­tives have lifted the bur­den of cost of send­ing chil­dren to schools. But, there are some who have at­tempted to de­fraud the sys­tem.

Ini­tially, some schools were hes­i­tant to open their books for au­dit. That in it­self is highly ques­tion­able. Now, more schools are be­ing listed by Mr Reddy for not send­ing their au­dited ac­counts on time. The im­pli­ca­tions of this fail­ure are serious. The schools are un­likely to re­ceive their grants as the new school term started yes­ter­day. This will in turn mean that ad­min­is­tra­tive and other costs that would have been paid from the grant would be de­layed. All school man­age­ments need to re­alise that money given to them is paid for by tax­pay­ers. They are ac­count­able for the grants given to them. It is their re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that ev­ery sin­gle cent spent in their schools is ac­counted for. The funds have been given for the ben­e­fit of our chil­dren - who are the fu­ture lead­ers of this na­tion. Any man­age­ment not fol­low­ing through and pro­vid­ing au­dited ac­counts should be taken to task. Serious ques­tions should be asked when au­dited ac­counts are not ready on time. Each school has 14 weeks of school term and a week or two of school hol­i­days to get their books in order. The prob­lem is the cul­mi­na­tion of slack man­age­ment. It did not spring up overnight. Man­age­ment has am­ple time to get their books in order.

This last-minute rush to or­gan­ise things sets a very danger­ous prece­dent. Ku­dos to Min­is­ter Reddy for tak­ing the bull by the horns, so to speak, and de­mand trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity from school man­age­ments.

School man­age­ments that fail to ful­fill their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties de­serve no sym­pa­thy. They need to be re­placed by peo­ple with in­tegrity, those who take the ed­u­ca­tion of our chil­dren se­ri­ously. When grants are held up be­cause au­dited re­ports are late, it af­fects the over­all school op­er­a­tion. School sup­plies are de­layed which ul­ti­mately deny stu­dents tools for learn­ing. This must not be al­lowed to hap­pen and those re­spon­si­ble de­serve to be held ac­count­able. Mr Reddy must press on. The rot in some schools through years of abuse and ne­glect is be­com­ing ap­par­ent and must be elim­i­nated for the sake of our chil­dren’s fu­ture.

It is amaz­ing to see how rugby truly brings a whole na­tion to­gether and only in Fiji can you fill a sta­dium, every­one is hyped up and wav­ing flags so proudly singing the na­tional an­them, it is re­ally heart­warm­ing and makes it even harder to leave this place.

Natalie Ryan

Team Fiji Rugby Men’s 7s coach’s wife

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