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.
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.
Team Fiji Rugby Men’s 7s coach’s wife