Wednesday, 08 February 2017 18:20

Public school officials get finance lessons

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Public schools across South Africa are benefitting from a partnership between the Department of Basic Education and Absa that seeks to strengthen financial management and improve the accountability of schools.

Reaan_Immelman

The department on Tuesday said thousands of educational officials and members of School Governing Bodies (SGBs) are acquiring skills through the School Governing Body Financial Management Programme.

Absa has already spent more than R10 million in 2016 in providing financial management training to school managers. A total of 10 521 SGB members from more than 2 700 schools in four provinces have already been trained. Training will be rolled out to other provinces this year.

The initiative has already been implemented in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. To date, 1 146 schools circuit managers have already completed the training.

The training was necessitated by the increasing number of requests to the bank from schools to provide them with overdraft facilities, and their inability to produce financial statements and budgets in many instances.

Head of Education and Skills Citizenship at Absa, Reaan Immelman, said a substantial number of public schools, both fee and non-fee paying, lack the proper financial management and governance practices.

“A key objective of this partnership with the Department of Basic Education is to improve this situation through institutional capacity building … to contribute towards improving the learning environment and delivery of quality education at schools. We believe that with good governance comes better teaching and learning outcomes,” said Immelman.

The programme

The programme was designed by facilitators from Absa’s Learning, Leadership and Talent Unit and was endorsed by the Department of Basic Education.

The programme is intended to:

  • Be at a level where anyone can easily understand it;
  • Support and highlight the current financial processes within schools (it is not meant to change any policies or processes within schools); and
  • Highlight the importance of proper governance procedures and financial management in running a school in order to perform well.

“We believe that this intervention, in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, will go a long way in contributing to the creation of an environment conducive for learning and delivery of quality education.

“As an organisation, we recognise the importance of education and skills training to socioeconomic development throughout Africa. That is why education is one of the three central pillars of our Shared Growth Strategy, through which we have committed,” said Immelman.

DBE Director General Mathanzima Mweli said although the department has had other interventions with regard to financial training before, it never had a programme as accessible as the one provided by Absa.

“To partner with a financial institution that fully understands these challenges is also a first for us. Whereas other programmes tend to be province-specific, this particular course has been the only one which has been rolled out on such a large scale by a single sponsor.

“The impact of such an intervention is already being felt. For this, we are very grateful to Absa and proud of this association,” Mweli said.

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 18:29