The Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC) has asked the Government of Malawi to stop banking on donors to develop the education sector, saying international cooperating partners, sometimes, may not fully fullfil their financial commitments.
CSEC has also noted that donors have their own priorities in the education sector that may not really translate to the much needed development the sector requires.
The coalition has expressed these concerns in view of information showing that 90% of the proposed 2020/2021 development budget of the Ministry of Education, will be funded by donors.
“These donors only managed to fullfil 10% of the funds they committed in the 2019/2020 development budget of the Ministry of Education.
“This is worrisome. Government itself should be proactive in developing the education sector because donors usually attach their own conditions in order to fullfil their financial commitments,” said Kisa Kumwenda, CSEC program manager.
Kumwenda said this in an interview with Nyasa Times at Parliament building in the Capital Lilongwe after making a presentation of CSEC’s analysis of the proposed 2020/2021 education budget before legislators who are members of the Parliamentary Committee on Education.
He added: “For instance, our analysis of the past three years, show that the secondary school sub-sector has had the lion’s share of the donors finances. This is because most donors are currently prioritizing secondary education.
“But what are the real priorities of our country in the education sector? Should we really be driven by donors?”
CSEC presented the analysis in partnership with ActionAid Malawi, Water Aid and Early Childhood Development (ECD) Coalition.
According to Kumwenda, the analysis has simplified the education budget for the Members of Parliament (MPs) so that they understand the gaps to effectively deliberate and propose necessary changes and budget lines that will have impact in the education sector.
He said CSEC and its partners have taken advantage of the ongoing cluster meetings of Parliament where MPs are scrutinizing budgetary allocations of various government ministries, departments and agencies in the proposed 2020/2021 national budget.
“We know that based on Parliamentary guidelines, the education committee is given an opportunity to adjust up to only 10% of the entire education budget. Of course, this will not really bring a meaningful impact. But we know that with this engagement, the MPs should be able to take relevant controlling officers to task,” said Kumwenda.
Kumwenda also expressed concern over the missing of the allocation for the construction of Mombera University in the proposed 2020/2021 education budget, wondering why this is the case now when the project had actually been apportioned funds in the past three budgets.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Brainax Mfaume Aziz Kaise, assured CSEC and its partners that his committee will summon responsible controlling officers and directors on Tuesday next week so that they would respond to the issues.
When he presented the 2020/2021 proposed national budget statement, Finance Minister, Felix Mlusu, pegged the entire education budget at K384.5 billion–which is the largest allocation in the fiscal plan.
And, as expected, most of that is recurrent budget.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :