Saturday, May 15, 2021

Education Ministry accounting books in shambles

Summoned to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to give evidence on the Ministry of Education and Skills Development financial books; the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Richard Matlhare was sent back to make re-submissions on many outstanding issues he failed to account on.

Matlhare failed to explain why his Ministry is still paying employees who retired from service a long time ago. Some of those who are still being paid by the Ministry died a long time ago.

The Ministry of Education is owed P3.8 million as from overpayment of salaries.

Member of Parliament for Selibe Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse cited an incident where one employee retired in 2004 but was still paid. The same person died in 2007 and was still paid until 2009. The incident is captured in the Ministry of Education books of accounting.

The Ministry’s FNB account in which the Ministry pay tertiary students has not been reconciled and the Ministry is unaware of how it has paid from the said account. The account is twelve months behind in terms of the reconciliation. ┬á

Keorapetse said there are many incidents of corruption in the Ministry of Education as it was highlighted by Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime Director Rose Seretse who appeared before the committee previously.  Seretse made reference to the tertiary education financing.

“What are you doing in your Ministry to curb incidents of corruption, mismanagement, unethical governance and other incidents of economic crime? When you look at your submissions there are many loopholes for corruption, mismanagement and even embezzlement of government funds,” said Keorapetse.

Gaborone Bonnington South MP Ndaba Gaolatlhe said there is a trend in the Ministry of Education of unauthorised over expenditure and supplementary requests. He said there are clear planning lapses and it is very clear that there is a planning incapability that needs to be bridged.

“Every institution needs to measure its evolution of how effective it is; I am curious to know whether you think that your Ministry is effective and whether it has been improving over the years in terms of how effective it is and whether you have key high level measures of how effective your Ministry is,” ┬áGaolatlhe said.

In his response Matlhare said as the Ministry they have noted from one PAC to the other, from one audit to the other that certainly there were challenges; that certainly there were gaps that were exposing them to corrupt practices despite the fact that they have put together like in any other government establishment anti corruption units which act as preventers of corruption.

“There is a ‘yes’ to the question of whether the Ministry is effective and whether it has been improving and there is also a ‘no’ the question.”

He acknowledged that the performance of Primary, Junior and Senior schools has been declining over the years.
“That should be a concern and certainly something is wrong somewhere in terms of our effectiveness. There could also be an element of the product that we put on ground if we were to look at the issue of effectiveness.”

“Those students that we are training are they employable, do we train for the right market, and can they generate and create jobs for themselves?”

He said it is a challenge for the Ministry, if the Ministry cannot employ the students it trained locally and whether they can be employable regionally or internationally.

“The skill mismatch with the economy and the industry is one challenge of effectiveness.”

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