Millions of Kwacha risked at Malawi's education ministry -Audit

Malawi’s Auditor General says major finding of the audit it conducted on Ministry of Education teaching and learning supplies system was that several primary schools were not getting the procured materials.

Under the ministry, the objective of the Supply of Teaching and Learning Materials Programme is to procure, store and distribute teaching and learning materials to schools in order to support free primary education.

Activities to of the supply of teaching and learning materials programme have received funding increases over the years from K743 million in 2006/2007 to MK 1.2 billion in 2008/2009.

Minister of Education George Chaponda: Performance audit was presented in parliament

An audit report of the programme says between two and four percent of the material delivered at Liwonde Warehouse did not reach the schools in the Southern Region.

“In the Central and the Northern Region, there were less problems of leakage. However, schools in about 150 zones in the Central Region did not get all the teaching and learning material that they were supposed to receive in 2008,” the report says.

At the same time, several secondary schools in the Central Region received materials meant for primary schools and that in many schools Teaching and Learning materials were delivered sometime after the school year had started.

“This was due to late awarding of contracts by the Ministry, delayed delivery of materials by suppliers, inefficient warehouse management and insufficient distribution capacity. The consequence was the shortage of teaching and learning materials in schools in the first and sometimes second term of the school year,” the report says.

The audit also found a lot of weaknesses relating to an economic procurement of materials by the Ministry because there were instances of over awarding of contract quantities and procurement of poor quality materials.

The warehouses did not have sample materials to compare with when receiving materials. Furthermore, internal auditors were supposed to inspect the quantity and quality of received materials, but this was not the case.

Efficient warehouse management seems to be a major challenge in the programme with the audit revealing several weaknesses in the receipt of materials, record management and arrangement of stores in the warehouses.

There was no standardized way of record keeping in the warehouses and such weaknesses show that the Supplies Unit Head Office had not done enough to ensure the efficient running of the warehouses because of lack of systematic monitoring and internal controls.

The Ministry has the overall responsibility for the results of the Teaching and learning materials programme but the audit disclosed that there were serious challenges of procurement, warehouse management and distribution of materials in the programme.

This shows that the Ministry had not done enough to ensure the economic and efficient running of the programme.

With exposed serious challenges of procurement, warehouse management and distribution of materials in the programme, the auditors rcommendedthat the Supplies Unit Directorate should develop better systems and procedures to ensure that teaching and learning materials reach the targeted schools in an economic and efficient way.

It went on to recommended when procuring goods proper estimates should be established on the materials needed, better monitoring of the delivery time of materials and the quality and quantity of the received materials.

Among other recommendation Supplies Unit was told to come up with standardized systems or guidelines on warehouse management, record keeping and storage.

AG’s Reports on performance audits were presented in parliament on Friday, the first time in Malawi history.

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