The effectiveness of decentralized Financial Management in Basic Schools: A case study of Chibombo District

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Lisulo, Alexina Sibeso
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The Decentralised Financial Management in Basic Schools was introduced in order to foster local participation to safeguard the principles of transparency, efficiency and effectiveness with which funds would be used. Hence, the purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the decentralized financial management in basic schools of Chibombo District. A case study was used to carry out the research. The study employed qualitative and quantitative techniques. Data were collected from the District Education Board Secretary, the Internal Auditor (Kabwe), six (6) head teachers, six (6) Accounting Officers, 60 teachers, 12 parents and 12 pupils. The data were collected using interview schedules on the DEBS, Internal Auditors, head teachers and Accounting Officers. As well as questionnaires on teachers and Focus Group Discussions on pupils and parents. Qualitative data were analysed by comparing and categorising respondents' opinions. Emerging themes from data collected were analysed using Microsoft Excel to obtain graphs and pie charts. The findings of the study revealed that the decentralized financial management in basic schools was not effective. The following variables relevant to decentralized financial management effectiveness were studied: Participation of local stakeholders in financial management, accountability and transparency in the management of school funds and financial management skills. IV The overall analysis showed that teachers, pupils and parents were not incorporated in the management of funds. The study showed that financial management was more tied to the head teachers and Accounting Officers. It was also revealed that pupils and parents were not given the powers to monitor the utilization of school funds hence the management of funds was being done behind closed doors. This meant that there was lack of transparency and accountability. It was further discovered that most of the stakeholders including the DEBS and the head teachers lacked financial management skills and it was only when local stakeholders were skillful and qualified enough to manage the funds that the decentralized financial management could be implemented.
Decentralisation , Financial Management , Basic Schools