Subvention allegedly misused
Alleged failure by the Swaziland Christian Medical University (SCU) to submit audited financial statements to government despite getting a subvention has given rise to allegations that the money was misused.
The issue of the lack of audited financial statements was highlighted by Minister Phineas Magagula over a week ago during a brief interview. “How could we let the institution continue getting government funding whereas they were unable to produce audited statements,” the minister had asked.
This past week, a source revealed how the subcommittees which have been instructed to look into finances and academics were brought about after there were allegations to the effect that property was allegedly purchased with some of the subvention from government.
However, these allegations have not yet been proven in any competent setting or court of law.
Four years of learning has come to nought for hundreds of students at Swaziland Christian Medical University as their institution was alerted, over a year ago, that courses offered were not adequately pursued.
This is according to the Swaziland Higher Education Council report which states that as early as 2016, it recommended the extension of the duration of courses to allow students to take practicals.
In 2016, the audit on the institution revealed that there was an acute shortage of laboratory equipment and related inputs and as a result, students had not done the required practicals.
Despite the university increasing the numbers of laboratories as well as equipment and reagents, “The university failed to convince the panel that the students were ready to graduate in 2017.
The mitigation strategies were given, but there was no evidence to support the claims,” states the report.
Adding, it stated that there should have been consideration for more practical oriented subjects such as the Bachelors of Radiography, Psychology as well as social work. The only course which seems to have been adequately disseminat- ed, was the Bachelor of Nursing Sciences which was approved by the Swaziland Nursing Council.
When assessing the pharmacy programmes, the panel members felt that extending the duration of the programme would not necessarily ensure that the graduates produced would be of the required standard of pharmacists in the country. Recommendations were to the effect that an independent competency assessment for the students should be conducted since this would help in deciding on the competencies of the completing students, especially third and fourth years. “This would assist in independently ascertaining the exact competencies of the students within the pharmacy programme at the SCU and in the pegging of these students into the relevant Swaziland Qualification Framework,” reads the report. SCU was not fully registered. Despite the Swaziland Higher Education Council (SHEC) failing to succinctly state that the Swaziland Christian Medical University should be closed in its audit report submitted to cabinet in April, it was never fully registered in the first place. The university has been operating under provisional licensing pending its meeting requirements by SHEC.
Minister Phineas of Education and Magagula. Training