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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Smell of graft in Machakos schools wafts to high heavens

As schools reopened to begin first term, enraged parents from Machakos county have urged Education ministry and anti-graft watchdog to sniff graft in primary and secondary schools.
Investigation by Weekly Citizen shows that some headteachers are involved in a syndicate to siphon funds meant for improving education standards.
 Stakeholders want the ministry to put up modalities of reporting and continuous audit to ensure resources benefit the intended beneficiaries.
According to parents, funds disbursed for both programmes FPE and FDSE for the three terms should be able to sustain school programmes without serious inconveniences.
 With prudent management of school financial systems, secondary schools should be able to run their programmes with the additional revenue they collect from parents in terms of school fees.  
 The FPE and FDSE funds are meant to provide instructional materials and support services such as salaries for nonteaching staff, office operations, repair and maintenance and co-curricular activities among others.
Parents have also warned that some headteachers in Machakos county are allegedly charging illegal levies.
Investigations by Weekly Citizen indicate that a number of public secondary school heads in the county are overcharging parents contrary to ministry guidelines.
Last year, parents from  schools in Kathiani, Yatta, Kangundo and Masinga threatened to stage demonstration saying that they were forced to pay for activity fees.
Every child in a primary school was entitled to pay Sh120 for activities a move that has raised concern.
The parents have urged the ministry of Education to conduct an independent investigation following a series of complaints from parents or else take to the streets.
They claimed that some heads have repeatedly colluded with parents during special meetings to influence the approval of school projects.
“It has come to our attention that some of the heads select some stakeholders to support proposed projects that end up being approved without the consent of the parents,” a parent said.
They revealed that there is no accountability in the construction of buildings in the schools. Some are allegedly colluding with suppliers to milk schools coffers dry.
In many instances it has been reported that principals and BOGs have been subjected to forensic audit by the ministry of Education due to the mismanagement of funds through misappropriation and fraud.
In some schools, tenders were awarded but no books were delivered to the schools and yet payments were made.