12 September 2017

Malawi: Councilor Accuses Ministry of Failing to Arrest SIG Culprits

Dowa — Outspoken Dowa West, Kayembe Ward Councilor Simeon Nyemba has accused the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) of failing to act on some primary school teachers and school management committee members who are alleged to have misused School Improvement Grant (SIG) in the district.

Speaking in an interview, with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Nyemba said "it is sad to note that in some schools, members of staff are not involved in the preparation of estimates and the actual procurement of materials, a development which creates lack of accountability and divisions."

He alleged that SIG was ending up in some people's pockets and not benefiting schools.

"It is disappointing to see that some school management committees have forgotten their role of supporting development activities, which is to ensure that every kwacha is accounted for."

Nyemba called upon the communities in the district to wake up and ensure that there is good financial management in their schools so that the available resources are used for the benefit of the learners, adding that donors for the project cannot be happy to see the funds land in people's pockets.

The councilor also accused the primary education advisors (PEAs), of hiding information in accounting for Zonal Improvement Grant (ZIG), saying the grant is for the development of all schools in the zones.

He alleged that in some schools, learners are contributing money meant for watchmen wages, including payment for electricity and water bills in the Teacher Development Centres (TDCs). He said this was supposed to be covered by funds from ZIG.

Nyemba then asked the education authorities to sensitize all primary school teachers in the country that apart from School Improvement Grant, there is also Zonal and District Improvement Grant so that transparency and accountability within the school communities is enhanced.

This is the second time that the issue of mismanaging School Improvement Grant is arising in Dowa. In April, 2017 during a 2016/17 financial year budget consultation meetings which were organized by the Malawi Human Rights Resource Center (MHRRC), the same issue arose.

According to the 2016/17 financial year performance report presented to the Dowa District Council, the amount allocated in phase 1 of School Improvement Grant was K100, 750,000.00 while K70, 000,000.00 for 236 primary schools was allocated for Phase 2, giving a total of K170, 750,000.00.

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