Modes and challenges of accountability and transparency in the financial management systems in grant aided schools: a case of Kasisi girls and Kafue boys secondary schools.
Hang’andu, Nchimunya Bruce
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Accountability and Transparency in the management of school finances are one of the major responsibilities of Headteachers and the School Financial Committee (SFCs) since the implementation of the 1996 education policy as supported by the Constitution of Zambia article 198. Grant-aided schools and their financial committees have broad financial responsibilities such as managing to fund from the respective church mother bodies and government, setting and managing school fees, preparing the school‟s budget and raising additional funds to augment the school budget. This study was undertaken to explore modes of accountability and transparency in the financial management systems of Kasisi Girls and Kafue Boys secondary schools. The qualitative research methodological approaches were used. In order to establish the modes of accountability and transparency in managing school finances, semi-structured interviews and document analysis were used in collecting data from Headmasters, PTA members, SFC members, finance officers, and finance committee members of the selected schools. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis from the themes that emerged from the interviews. The following were the major findings: School Finance Committee Members‟ understanding of their roles in fostering accountability and transparency in grant-aided schools; it was observed that most of them did not understand their roles which led to overlapping roles with that of the school finance officers which led to misunderstandings and confusions. Transparency and accountability measures put in place included involvement of stakeholders in school activities by involving parents through PTA in the annual general meeting, the creation of school finance committees, having school fee registers and use of electronic school fee payment system. Challenges that hindered financial inclusion in grant-aided school include Poor dissemination of financial information to parents, disregard of bureaucratic financial structures and procedures, limited financial knowledge among people tasked to handle finances in schools. Grant-aided schools need to focus on providing opportunities for public stakeholders (for example, parents) to participate in the development of standards and in monitoring decisions regarding school financial matters. Schools also need to be all-inclusive in financial matters by engaging stakeholders at all levels. SFC members need to be inducted by the school management board after being ushered into office for the first time. The foregoing stated were some of the recommendations
The University of Zambia