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25.10.2005 Regional News

Minister cautions head-teachers on utilisation of capitation grant

By GNA
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Winneba (C/R), Oct 25, GNA - Mr Samuel Owusu-Agyei, Deputy Minister of Health, on Tuesday advised heads of basic schools to be careful about the utilisation of the capitation grant to prevent misappropriation and embezzlement.

He pointed out that auditors would visit their schools to audit the grants released periodically to ensure that the government's efforts to promote basic education was not hampered.

Mr Owusu-Agyei also appealed to the heads and circuit supervisors to strive to keep abreast with the guidelines for the distribution and utilisation of the grant and to study basic accounting principles to manage the finances of their schools and to keep accurate records. The Minister, who is also the MP for Efuttu, stated this when he visited educational institutions in the area to get first hand information on the conditions in the schools.

Institutions visited included Winneba Secondary School, District Council, A.M.E. Zion and the St John's Anglican Primary and Junior Secondary as well as the Presbyterian Junior Secondary Schools. Mr Owusu-Agyei said because of the payment of the capitation grant of 30,000 cedis per female and 25,000 cedis for each male pupil made it necessary for them to be abreast with the accounts of how they spent the money and to keep accurate records on items and materials in their schools.

They should also all receipts to avoid embarrassment and to work within the guidelines, he said.

The Efuttu MP stressed the need for the head teachers to prepare School Performance Improvement Plans (SPIP) and to prepare budgets for projects for them to get the necessary grant for the development of their institutions.

He stated that the grant could only be assessed after they had drawn SPIP's stressing areas of priority including sports, culture, administration, Teaching and Learning Materials (TLMs) and minor repairs.

Mr Owusu-Agyei pointed out that heads who misappropriated the capitation grant would be prosecuted and dismissed. Ms Helena Arkoh, District Director of Education, urged teachers to adhere to basic teaching principles and to serve as the role models for their pupils and students.

She urged the heads of the institutions to maintain the standard specification for school buildings to meet the desired needs and environment for teaching and learning.

Ms Arkoh said without the necessary infrastructure, education would suffer and affect the government's plan to make Information Communication Technology (ICT) part of basic education. Most of the schools the Minister visited lacked toilet facilities forcing the teachers; pupils and students to attend to natures call in nearby bushes and had leaking roofs while their land had been encroached.

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